Julie's products banned; Malaysia-made Khong Guan items also affected
By Tessa Wong
MELAMINE has been found in 20 more food products, making it the biggest batch of items discovered by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to contain the potentially harmful chemical.
They include well-known products such as Lotte Koala biscuits and Julie's crackers.
Three of them are from China while 17 are from Malaysia, making this also the first time that non-China products available here have been found to be tainted.
Also among them were Khong Guan biscuits made in Malaysia. Khong Guan biscuits made in Singapore are still safe to eat, as well as other biscuits made here, the AVA said.
Two of the China-made products, the Lotte Koala's March Cocoa Chocolate Biscuit and Hello Kitty Strawberry Cream Filled Biscuit, should have been removed from shelves by now.
The third, an unbranded non-dairy creamer meant for re-export and never sold in stores or used in food production here, has been sealed in the manufacturer's warehouse.
On Sept 19, the AVA banned all China dairy and other products which may contain China dairy, such as confectionery.
The made-in-Malaysia tainted items, which comprise 12 Julie's products and five other brands, are to be withdrawn immediately from shelves.
The AVA has also imposed a ban on all Julie's products. Test results for other Malaysia-imported biscuits have proven that they are safe to eat for now.
The AVA has urged those who bought the tainted products not to consume them.
It has said that the levels of melamine in the products are low. For example, an adult weighing 60kg would have to eat 378 pieces of Julie's Golden Kaka Crackers every day of his life to be in any danger.
Melamine, a chemical more commonly found in plastic, has been at the centre of a worldwide food scandal which originated in China.
It was added to milk to artificially boost its protein content, and has since caused four infant deaths in China and thousands of others to fall ill with kidney-related sicknesses.
Dozens of places including Hong Kong, Canada, France and India have pulled China dairy products as a result.
As of yesterday, over 3,200 types of milk and milk products, chocolates, biscuits, non-dairy creamers and other products have been taken in for analysis.
The number of tainted items here has now more than doubled, from 13 to 33. They include ice-cream bars, milk candy, flavoured milk and crackers.