The Jakarta Post
A joint team consisting of officials from the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) and the Trade Ministry seized thousands of illegal food products stored in warehouses during an impromptu inspection of several distributors in West Jakarta on Wednesday.
'We found a lot of illegal food from Malaysia and China ready to be distributed that were being stored in three warehouses belonging to PD Aneka Jaya,' said BPOM head Roy A Sparringa, as quoted by Antara news agency.
According to the team's findings, 'Matilde Vicenda' bread, 'Remia' beverages, a sauce named 'Meglio' and strawberry jam named 'Zentis' were among the already circulating-products that had also come from the warehouses.
'The food products seem legal because they have official labels, but they are actually counterfeit. People should also worry about their halal status,' Roy said.
Roy added that his agency would always try to prevent the circulation of illegal food products, which are expected to increase in the weeks before and during Ramadhan due to the high demand for food staples.
However, he acknowledged that the illegal food distribution business was always in an 'underground mode', which hampered prevention efforts. In order to overcome the problem, Roy said that the BPOM had increased its monitoring, as well as its cooperation with other related institutions and the general public.
Furthermore, Roy said his agency would thoroughly investigate the seized products and seek punishment for warehouse owners that would include the filing of criminal reports with the police.
'The company has committed a serious violation,' he said.
Previously, the agency confiscated 868 items of counterfeit drugs, cosmetics and food stuffs worth Rp 7.47 billion (US$617,866) that were being illegally sold on 302 online websites and in 58 stores around the country. The products were seized during Operation Pangea VII, which took place in 15 major cities from May 13 to 20.
Operation Pangea is a global effort coordinated by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to combat counterfeit drugs, particularly those marketed online, in 110 countries. (gda)