Wednesday, May 28, 2014

1952) NEW STRAITS TIMES 28/05/2014 - Subra: Right of public to sue ministry


Headline: Subra: Right of public to sue ministry
Publication: NST
Date of publication: May 28, 2014
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 010
Byline / Author: By Adrian Lai; Nikita Nawawi

TELUK INTAN: HEALTH Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam yesterday said the public has every right to seek legal action against the ministry over its alleged delay in detecting porcine DNA in two Cadbury chocolate products.

This followed calls by non-governmental organisation Jaringan Melayu Malaysia, urging consumers to take legal action against the ministry for failing to detect the tainted products earlier.

However, Dr Subramaniam said it was during a random surveillance that the ministry stumbled on the findings, adding that it took three months to thoroughly test the products.

"We needed to know if it was a case of accidental contamination or if there were additional ingredients in the chocolates that are not stated on the label.

"Unfortunately, the report was leaked on social media before there could be an official announcement about it.

"It is up to the public whether they want to take action against us. We will respond accordingly," he said during a visit to Hospital Teluk Intan here yesterday.

Traces of porcine DNA were found in Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut (batch number 200813M01H I2, with a Nov 13, 2014 expiry date) and Cadbury Dairy Milk Roast Almond (batch number 221013N01R I1, with a Jan 15, 2015 expiry date), following random tests by the ministry on products taken from shelves in Perlis and Kedah in February.

In Kuala Lumpur, the shocking revelation of the contaminated Cadbury chocolate samples has enraged Muslims.

Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM) and 15 Islamic NGOs, including Pertubuhan Kebajikan Darul Islah Malaysia, Pertubuhan Usahawan Halal Muslim and Perkasa, have come together to express their displeasure over the matter and insist that the authorities take firmer action.

PPIM chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan demanded that all Cadbury factories be shut down, saying a mere suspension of the halal certification for the two products was inadequate.

He said the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) should take the issue seriously by monitoring the production of every food product and conducting random halal compliance checks.

In a statement issued yesterday, Cadbury Malaysia acknowledged that it had been receiving comments from various parties.

"We hear the Muslim community's call for a resolution. For now, we are focusing our efforts and resources on the investigation.

"We are working closely with Jakim to ensure that our products are in compliance with halal guidelines," said its head of corporate affairs, Raja Zalina Raja Safran, adding that Jakim had stated that it would be conducting its own tests on Cadbury products.

The results of the Jakim tests will be made public once they are available.

Raja Zalina said Cadbury was working hard to address the issue as quickly as possible.


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