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June 13 , 1999 21:14PM




SUNGAI PETANI, June 13 (Bernama) -- The Health Ministry in collaboration with the Customs and Veterinary Service departments is stepping up checks at Port Klang and the KL International Airport for possible entry of dioxin contaminated food, Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said today.

Enforcement officers from the agencies were ensuring that no such food entered the country.

He said that on June 11, customs detained RM6.02 million worth of food products originating from the European Union countries at Port Klang and MAS Catering service had removed voluntarily RM2 million worth of such products.

Speaking to reporters after opening the Kedah MCA Youth and Wanita MCA meeting here, he said since June 8 RM6.628 million worth of food products from the EU had been detained at entry points.

On June 6, Malaysia banned the import of meat, eggs and diary products from EU countries and ordered products already in the market to be taken off the shelves.

Chua said food consignment from EU countries detained at entry points on Friday comprised infant formula milk worth RM1.454 million, meat and meat products (RM249,812) and cocoa and cocoa products (RM2,993).

Seizures conducted by the ministry's enforcement officials at 32 retail outlets throughout the country, also on Friday, included milk and milk products (worth RM40,649), infant formula (RM112,768), special purpose foods (RM3,431), meat and meat products (RM2,701), egg and egg products (RM571), chocolate (RM68,088) and other goods (RM57).

He also said that the Food Quality Control Divison of his ministry had received many enquiries on this matter through hotline and fax.

The division received 401 enquires from consumers, importers, manufactures, embassies, associations and the press.

He said 98 percent of the calls were from consumers, 1 percent from importers and manufacturers and 1 percent from embassies, associations and press.

The enquiries were on the types of foods (9 percent) and brand of infant formula affected (91 percent), he said.

The hotline is open from 9am to 12noon on non-working days and from 8am to 4 pm on working days and the numbers are 03-2555943 and 2533462.


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