Three Pork Products Recalled; Producer Charged

by 5m Editor
15 June 2011, at 10:07am

MALAYSIA - Three smoked pork (bak kwa) products have been recalled after tests found they have too much nitrate, a preservative that can cause cancer if consumed excessively, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

"The maximum amount of nitrate allowed is 200mg in one kilogramme of meat. The samples were found to have more than 1,000mg of nitrate," the Health Minister told reporters yesterday after checking the mechanism on monitoring imported food.

According to The Star, Minister Liow said legal action had been initiated against the food processors.

On another matter, he said the Korean instant noodles Shin Ramyun (Shin Ramen) was tested safe for consumption and did not contain carcinogen di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP).

Meanwhile, Bernama reports that court action is being taken against the producer of the 'Cap Ayam' smoked pork, containing preservative that exceeded permitted levels.

Minister Liow said Rule 147 of Food Regulations 1985 states that processed meat should not contain over 200mg of nitrate and nitrite.

"This is a serious offence and convicted meat producers face RM20,000 maximum fine or jail not more five years or both under Section 13B of Food Act 1983," he said after monitoring food products imported from Taiwan here Tuesday.

Nitrate and nitrite are preservatives used in processed meat to inhibit bacteria growth and enhance colour.

Minister Liow said when consumed, nitrate will be converted into nitrite in the body and join red blood cells (methemoglobin).

"High red blood cell will reduce its ability to supply oxygen to organs making the person tired, dizzy, difficult to breathe, look pale and suffer headache and palpitation.

"Food subjected to high temperature or high acid will result in amine from meat protein and reaction with nitrite will form nitrosamine which can cause cancer."

He said the ministry analysed 80 samples of smoked pork, sausages, dim sum and pau and found three samples of smoked meat with excessive nitrite.

One sample from 'Cap Ayam' brand had been ordered removed from stores nationwide while the others were produced by two shops in Penang which had been ordered closed.