AVA recalls Malaysia's durian white coffee following reports of 'drugs' found in sachets

Samples of the instant coffee mixture, identified in some local media reports as Mycafe Penang Durian White Coffee, were detected with a substance believed to be drugs. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Singapore's food authority has recalled a brand of durian white coffee from Malaysia, following reports of consumers falling ill after consuming the beverage.

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said in a statement on Saturday night (Feb 3) that it is recalling Coffee Tree MyCafe 4-in-1 Penang Durian White Coffee as a precautionary measure, while the case is under investigation.

Consumers who have purchased the product can return them to the retailer, said the AVA, adding that it will be taking samples for food safety tests.

Samples of the instant coffee mixture were detected with a substance believed to be drugs, Malaysian police said earlier.

George Town police chief Anuar Omar told The Star in a report on Friday (Feb 2) that samples were taken to the state food safety and quality laboratory for tests after a medical officer lodged a police report following the incident.

"The samples were also sent to the Chemistry Department for analysis," he said in a statement on Friday.

ACP Anuar said an officer later confirmed that a substance, believed to be drugs, was found in the sachets.

The exact type of drug, however, has not been identified.

The findings come after Malaysian media reported that five patients received treatment at Penang Hospital between Jan 27 and Jan 30 after drinking the coffee.

They were reportedly admitted with "severe fatigue".

The AVA said in a Facebook post on Friday that it has followed up with its Malaysian counterparts to request for facts of the case.

"In general, consumers who do not feel well after consuming any food products should seek medical attention," wrote AVA. "As a good food safety practice, when in doubt of the safety of a food product, do not consume it."

Meanwhile, Mycafe Penang Durian White Coffee said in a statement on Friday that it believes the coffee packaging it received from one victim "was tampered with" and it has made a police report.

The coffee brand said the victim was given a pack of the coffee when she visited a temple. It added that the victim's friend also fell ill after drinking coffee she was given at the same temple.

"Subsequently, we came to know about another two victims from the video clips that were circulated in social media and from the video clips, we also learned that the coffee was given to the two victims," it said.

The coffee brand said it wished to inform the public not to take coffee from strangers, and added that they should buy its products from authorised dealers.

"We wish to reiterate that we have given and shall continue to give full cooperation to all authorities in having this matter investigated and solved," it said.

A check on five major Singapore-based online grocery stores including FairPrice and Cold Storage shows that they do not stock the coffee brand.

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