Health Ministry to probe popular biscuit brand following claims of cancer-causing substances in their products.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 ― The Health Ministry's Food Safety and Quality Division is currently in the midst of conducting checks on premises that make three popular biscuit and cracker brands after a Hong Kong group claimed it found cancer-causing substances in their products.

“We have taken note of the issue highlighted in CHOICE magazine as stated in the Hong Kong Consumer Council website in connection with the monitoring of 60 brands of flour confectionery products including biscuits, which are sold in the Hong Kong market.

“Acrylamide and glycidol are possible contaminants produced during food processing, but the ingredients can be controlled through the selection of appropriate raw materials and processes,” the division said in a statement today.

Among the brands listed include biscuit brands Hup Seng, Jacobs and Julie's which are manufactured in Malaysia.

The division said that food production premises in Malaysia must implement Food Safety Assurance Program (PJKM) such as MeSTI, GMP, HACCP and others as stated in Regulation 9 under the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009.

“The implementation of the Food Safety Assurance Programme (PJKM) will be able to identify the risk and reduce further hazards or get rid of food contamination.

“It is the responsibility of the industry to ensure that the product produced is safe,” it added.

Based on preliminary investigation, the division said the factory premises were certificate holders HACCP.

On Monday, the Hong Kong Consumer Council said it tested 60 samples of biscuits and crackers sold in Hong Kong and found almost all contained glycidol and acrylamide.

The group said that 56 samples contained high levels of 3-MCPD — an organic chemical compound that is said to adversely affect the kidneys and male fertility.

It also found that some 85 per cent of the samples had high sodium, sugar and fat content.

In addition, it said the nutrition labels were also found to be inaccurate in 40 per cent of the samples tested.

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