Health Ministry Investigating 10 Stevia Products

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KUALA LUMPUR – The Health Ministry is investigating on claims of 10 fake stevia products sold in the market.

Its director-general, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, said this followed a newspaper report on laboratory tests conducted on the products concerned by two universities.

According to the report, tests conducted by Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia found that the products did not contain plant extract, but a combination of chemicals which are hazardous to health.

“The ministry is investigating the matter to ascertain the products comply with food laws.

“Regulation 118A of the Food Regulations 1985, Food Act 1983, has set the standards for stevia extract products,” he said in a media statement here today.

Stevia extract is a type of natural sweetener which is extracted from the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni plant which contains steviol glycosides and processed into white to light yellow powder, has no smell and has a sweet taste.

It can be used to replace the ordinary sugar, especially those with diabetes.

Citing Section 13 of the Food Act 1983, Noor Hisham said it was an offence for anyone to import, distribute, keep or sell food that contains dangerous poison or is hazardous to health, including stevia products.

He said those found guilty faced a fine of not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment of up to 10 years, or both.

He said consumers with any inquiries on food safety could contact the State Health Department or District Health office in their respective areas.

The can also do so at http://moh.spab.gov.my or www.facebook.com/bkkmhq, which is the website for the Health Ministry’s Food Safety and Quality Division. – BERNAMA

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