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BPOM confirms food contamination

The Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) has confirmed fears that certain Chinese-based foods sold in Indonesia contain toxic ingredient melamine, citing six registered and six illegal products in circulation in the country.

Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said in Jakarta on Saturday that the BPOM had found poisonous ingredient melamine in Oreo stick wafers and M&Ms (each with two registration numbers), Snickers and Guozhen formula milk.

The six items were included on a list of 19 China-based dairy products registered with the BPOM. Siti said the BPOM had faced difficulties in locating some of the products on the list, which includes Meiji Indoeskrim's Gold Monas ice cream, Dove Choc candies, Merry X-Mas candies and Nestle Milkmaid milk jam.

BPOM head Husniah Rubiana Thamrin Akib said the listed products would only contain melamine if they had been produced in China, as indicated by the bar code, which begins "ML" for foreign made products.

Local-based products, which are indicated by "MD" on the bar code, are safe because they are made using local milk or milk imported from Australia or New Zealand.

Foods containing Chinese dairy products were banned in many countries, including Indonesia, after four infants died and 53,000 fell ill after consuming milk contaminated by melamine.

Melamine, a toxic chemical normally used in fertilizers and plastics, can cause kidney failure and kidney stones if ingested.

Some Chinese milk producers allegedly used the toxic ingredient to boost protein content of watered-down milk.

The BPOM has so far found melamine in six illegally imported China-based dairy products during raids on retailers throughout the country. Among the illegal products is White Rabbit creamy candies.

"All products from China have a melamine concentration of between 8.51 milligram per kilogram (parts per million) and 945.86 mg per kg (ppm)," Siti said, adding that the toxic products would soon be destroyed.

The Health Ministry also told the public not to consume Chinese dairy products containing melamine announced in a warning by Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

The products are not registered in Indonesia but may have entered the country illegally and may be in circulation in areas including Batam and border towns in Kalimantan.

The AVA's list of toxic products includes Yili Bean Club red bean ice bar, Nestle Dairy Farm UHT milk and Dutch Lady milk.

Siti warned importers, distributors and retailers to stop selling the items, adding that those failing to comply with the ban could face up to five years' imprisonment and Rp 2 billion (US$214,000) in fines.

The BPOM has also sealed off four mini markets in Jakarta for selling illegal foods and cosmetic products imported from China, Japan and South Korea.

Husniah named the mini markets as Rejeki in Harmoni, Central Jakarta; Papaya on Jl. Melawai, Mugung Hwa in Senayan and Cosmos in Kebayoran Baru, all in South Jakarta.

Ribka Tjiptaning, chairwoman of the House of Representatives Commission IX overseeing health and manpower issues, said the BPOM should have learned from previous cases.

"The BPOM should be more active in its active monitoring of food products. It should not stop monitoring when the scandal recedes," she said.

Public findings of any melamine-containing products sold on the market should be reported to the BPOM by phone (021) 4263333 or (021) 32199000, by SMS to 081511997772, or by email to ulpk@pom.go.id or ulpkbadanpom@yahoo.com.

Desy Nurhayati contributed to the report

 

List of dairy-based products (produced in China) ontaining melamine found in RI:

Product Names
Manufacturers
Melamine Concentration (mg/kg) Status in RI
1. Guozhen Pine Pollen Calcium Milk
Yantai New Era Health Industry Co., Ltd.
38.03
Registered
2. Oreo Wafer Sticks
PT Nabisco Food (Suzhou) Co. Ltd.
366.08
Registered
3. Oreo Wafer Sticks
PT Nabisco Food (Suzhou) Co. Ltd.
361.69
Registered
4. M&M’s Minis Milk Chocolate
Mars Food Co. Ltd.
167.50
Registered 5. M&M’s Minis Milk Chocolate
Mars Food Co. Ltd.
252.8 Registered
6. M&M’s Peanuts Chocolate Candies
PT Effem Foods Co. Ltd.
116.4 Registered
7. M&M’s Peanuts Chocolate Candies
PT Effem Foods Co. Ltd.
262.82 Registered
8. M&M’s Milk Chocolate
PT Effem Foods Co. Ltd.
856.30
Registered
9. M&M’s Milk Chocolate
Mars Food Co. Ltd.
322.22
Registered
10.Snickers
Mars Food Co. Ltd.
24.44
Registered
11.White Rabbit creamy candies (blue package)
Shanghai Guan Sheng Yuan
456.04
Illegal 12.White Rabbit creamy candies (red package)
Shanghai Guan Sheng Yuan
945.86
Illegal 13.Soybean Drink with Milk (green package)
Wuzhou Bingquan Industrial Shareholding Co., Ltd.
93.25 Illegal
14.Soybean Drink with Milk (yellow package)
Wuzhou Bingquan Industrial Shareholding Co., Ltd.
8.51
Illegal
15.Soyspring Instant Milk Cereal
Wuzhou Bingquan Industrial Shareholding Co., Ltd.
23.4 Illegal
16.Soyspring Instant Peanut Milk
Wuzhou Bingquan Industrial Shareholding Co., Ltd.
<0.6 Illegal
Source: BPOM

 

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