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Local biscuits on shelves safe, says Health Ministry

PUTRAJAYA, 22 Oct 2008: The Health Ministry has assured that biscuits manufactured locally and found on the shelves are safe for consumption.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said since the Ministry had taken preventive measures to ban biscuit products that contain melamine beyond the permitted level, those in the market are now safe.

“We have taken all the necessary preventive measures to ensure the safety of the consumers,” he told reporters after meeting representatives of local biscuit manufacturers here today.

On 16 Oct, the Ministry had banned the import of ammonium bicarbonate, a levelling agent used in the production of biscuits, from China, as it contained high levels of melamine.

Also last week, 18 biscuits from Khong Guan and Khian Guan (local manufacturers) were found to contain excessive levels of melamine and the contaminant ingredient was traced to ammonium bicarbonate, which is used as a levelling agent.

Liow added that 16 more types of biscuits manufactured by Khong Guan, currently found in the market, were safe.

Among the brands are Cookie Bis, Funcy Cookies, Merlion Bis, Snowy Short Cake, Chocolate Shake, Pineapple Cracker, Chocolate ABC, Small Square Puff, Wafer Peanut Cream, Wafer Chocolate  Cream, Sweet Lemon Cream, Pineapple Cookies, Corn Cream crackers, Pineapple Jam biscuits, Butter Flavoured Cookies and Chocolate Flavoured Cookies.

He said that apart from the 16 types, another eight biscuit products from China that conformed to the permitted level of melamine were also safe.

The eight products are Animal Biscuit Strawberry Cream (ZQ), Spring Onion Crackers (Four Seas), Strawberry Layer Biscuit (Golden Fuji), Traditional Gridle (Grape)(Scaro), Twingo Wafer (Mr Bunny), Crispy Candy (BEST), Soybean Powder with Green Tea (Polleney) and Super Chunk Peanut Butter (Lady’s Choice).

The minister said that about 50 biscuit manufacturers whom he met today had agreed to send their products for testing at labs certified by the ministry.

For export purposes, Liow said that the ministry would issue certificates stating the level of Melamine found in the product, to countries that import such products.

He said 173 types of biscuits had been tested, including those imported from China and only 31 did not conform to the permitted level of melamine.

Liow also advised the public to read the labels of products before buying them and totally refrain from buying biscuits sold at night markets or those without labels. — Bernama


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