Health Ministry probes recalled bottled drinking water

Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Starfresh brand of bottled drinking water was found to contain Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common environmental bacteria. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Starfresh brand of bottled drinking water was found to contain Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common environmental bacteria. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 ― The Health Ministry (MoH) has initiated an investigation into a brand of bottled drinking water, which was recalled in Singapore after bacteria was detected in the product.

Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Starfresh brand of bottled drinking water, which was imported from Malaysia, was found to contain Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common environmental bacteria.

Initial investigation found that the factory which produced the product has implemented a food safety assurance programme and complied with the requirement for drinking water sources licensing set by the ministry, he said.

“MoH also confirmed that the Starfresh brand is for Singapore market only and not for local market. However, the ministry is conducting further investigations on the cause of the contamination,” he said in a statement here today.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) on Wednesday ordered a recall of Starfresh bottled drinking water after bacteria was found in samples of the product.

The products that have been recalled are the 1.5l Starfresh bottles of water that expire on May 13, 2021 and the 500ml Starfresh bottles of water that expire on May 11, 2021.

Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry was always aware and concerned about matter that posed threat to the health of consumers and had conducted monitoring on food products in local market including bottled drinking water.

He said products for sale were required to comply with Regulation 360B of the Food Regulations 1985 under the Food Act 1983 and could be prosecuted under Section 13 of the act.

“Anyone found guilty shall be liable to imprisonment for a maximum of 10 years or a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or both,” he said.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be found in faeces, soil, water and sewage. It can multiply in water environments and on the surface of suitable organic materials in contact with water.

Use or consumption of products contaminated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause a range of infections but rarely causes serious illness in healthy individuals.

Consumers who have any concerns regarding the issue or other food safety issues may contact the District Health Office or the nearest State Health Department or through the website http://moh.spab.gov.my or Facebook page, Food Safety and Quality Division (BKKM) at www.facebook.com/bkkmhq. ― Bernama