PUTRAJAYA, 16 Oct 2008: Malaysia has banned the import of the raising agent “ammonium bicarbonate” from China as the substance has been found to contain an excessive level of melamine.
Following the finding, Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said, two local biscuit manufacturers, Khong Guan and Khian Guan, had been ordered to recall several of their products from the market.
He added that raising agents from other countries would be put under thorough checks before they were allowed into the local market.
The ban on the raising agent, which takes effect today, was made after analysis made on samples from two biscuit factories — Khong Guan in Johor and Khian Guan in Penang — found that 18 of the 47 samples had excessive melamine levels.
“The analysis showed that only the raising agent, ammonium bicarbonate, was found to contain high melamine level, which is 33.4 ppm (parts per million) for Khong Guan biscuits and 508 ppm for Khian Guan biscuits,” he said. The permitted level is 2.5 mg/kg or 2.5 ppm.
“We have established that the raising agent used in both factories is from China,” he told reporters here.
He said the ministry had ordered Khong Guan to recall 12 biscuit brands, namely soda biscuit, lemon puff, lemon pof, butter cream, baby fish, healthy cracker, cocoa puff, sandwich orange, family crackers, star-shaped biscuit, rolled biscuit and mini puff.
The ministry also ordered the recall of six Khian Guan biscuits, namely creamy chocolate, lemon puff, square puff, cocoa puff, corn puff and party biscuit mix.
Liow said the ministry was monitoring the situation and that the recalled brands would be seized and destroyed if they were still being sold.
“We have also asked them to voluntarily recall other products until they have been cleared by the ministry,” he said.
Liow also said the ministry was identifying the importers, distributors and suppliers of the raising agent and would carry out checks on biscuit factories nationwide to determine whether they had been using the substance.
Asked on a report by a Canadian news channel, CBC News, that Julie’s Crackers from Malaysia was found to contain an excessive melamine level and had been recalled from the Taiwan market, Liow said the ministry was investigating the matter.
On reports by local dailies that the Mali unsweetened condensed milk, produced by a Thai company, had been found to contain high melamine level, Liow said the ministry was obtaining further information on the matter from the Thai authorities. — Bernama