Fake-milk scare sparks product replacement in Malaysia

Officials with boxes believed to contain fake baby milk powder, seized from five Chinese medicine shops and convenience stores in Johor Baru last Sunday. PHOTO: BERNAMA

Mead Johnson offers exchange of infant formula after discovery of counterfeit cartons in shops

PETALING JAYA • Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) Malaysia has advised consumers and retailers nationwide to return Enfalac A+ Step 1 Infant Formula in 1.8kg boxes for immediate replacement, following news reports of fake milk in Johor.

The replacement programme, involving the 1.8kg box with three pouches of milk inside, is being carried out in the light of the investigation by the authorities, who have identified a small percentage of counterfeit products in a handful of retail outlets in Johor Baru.

In a statement, Mead Johnson said it was expanding its current customer support with a voluntary Product Replacement Programme that began on Friday, The Star reported.

"The goal of the programme is to remove any counterfeit cartons from the marketplace and allow consumers to easily ensure they only have a genuine, high-quality MJN product that is safe for consumption and fit for use as per the product label," it said.

"MJN will collect all existing stocks of the targeted product from retail outlets and exchange them with the replacement product, in accordance with the programme mechanics, which are now being communicated to retailers."

MJN Malaysia said that using information it provided, the authorities confirmed that they were pursuing the counterfeiting operation in order to shut it down and hold the perpetrators accountable.

The discovery of fake milk powder has raised concerns among parents nationwide, even though the products were found only in Johor.

Last week, Johor's Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry officials seized 210 boxes believed to contain fake baby milk powder worth RM42,000 (S$14,000) from five Chinese medicine shops and convenience stores in Johor Baru.

Malaysian Health Minister S. Subramaniam said the ministry had not received any report of babies having problems after drinking the fake milk, but samples have been sent for analysis.

When contacted about Enfalac A+, Singapore's Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) said that it has regulations and a surveillance system to safeguard the safety of formula milk in the country.

"So far, all formula milk samples tested by AVA have met our food safety standards and requirements. AVA will continue to monitor the import," the authority said,

AVA also advised consumers to buy food products from reputable sources - such as major supermarkets and retailers - when purchasing from overseas or online.

"When in doubt of the source or safety of the food product, do not purchase it," said AVA.

•Additional reporting by Shaffiq Alkhatib

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 17, 2017, with the headline 'Fake-milk scare sparks product replacement in Malaysia'. Print Edition | Subscribe