Malaysia's Health Ministry suspends licence of Starfresh bottled drinking water

Samples of the Starfresh brand exported to Singapore and the Waterfuns brands sold in Malaysia were found contaminated with a common environmental bacteria. PHOTO: DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF HEALTH MALAYSIA

SINGAPORE - The Malaysian Ministry of Health has suspended the licence of bottled water company Starfresh after several samples were found contaminated with bacteria commonly found in faeces, soil and sewage.

The ministry's director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said on Monday (July 1) that the food safety and quality division had conducted checks on the company's factory. It found that food safety assurance programmes were not implemented effectively.

"The Starfresh brand exported to Singapore and the Waterfuns brands sold in the local market also did not comply with the Food Act 1983 and the Food Regulations 1985 due to contamination with the pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria," he was quoted as saying by New Straits Times.

The ministry suspended the licence of the factory's bottled water last Friday and ordered it to recall its products.

The products recalled were the 500ml and 1500ml bottles with expiry dates of May 11, 2021, and May 13, 2021, reported The Star.

The company also said it would voluntarily recall other brands it produced, including Iceberg, Sukahati, Rofina, Dixy Green and Dixy Blue.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) ordered a recall of Starfresh bottled drinking water imported from Malaysia on June 12 after the same bacteria was found in samples of the product.

The agency instructed the product's importer, Radha Exports, to recall all the implicated products.

It said the use or consumption of products contaminated with pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause a range of infections but will rarely cause serious illnesses in healthy individuals.

Last Friday, SFA banned the import of bottled water from Malaysian manufacturer Malee Mineral Water after the same bacteria was found in samples of its products.

Malee Mineral Water manufactures three lines of bottled water - Sukahati, Ro Fina and Still.

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