KUALA LUMPUR: The health risk from some carcinogenic substances found in locally produced biscuits is "low", Malaysia's Health Director-General said on Wednesday (Oct 27).
Dr Noor Hisham’s comments were in response to a report by the Hong Kong Consumer Council, which said carcinogens were found in 60 brands of flour confectionary products.
In addition to other popular biscuit brands like Ritz and Oreo, the report also said acrylamide and glycidol were found in biscuits from Hup Seng, Jacob's and Julie's which are manufactured in Malaysia.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), acrylamide and glycidol are carcinogenic substances and pose a risk to health.
Although these substances are found in biscuits, the health risk from consuming them in this form remains low, said Dr Noor Hisham.
He added that acrylamide is a contaminant that can be produced during the food manufacturing or processing stage. However, such pollutants can be controlled via selection of appropriate raw materials and processes.
Local health authorities have monitored the levels of acrylamide in such products since 2015 and have found them to be "below the benchmark" set by the European Commission Regulation, said Dr Noor Hisham.
For instance, an average of 246 microgramme per kg of acrylamide has been found in biscuits and crackers in the local market, below the 350 microgramme per kg guideline.
Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry was “always sensitive and concerned about things that could threaten the health of consumers” and encouraged those with concerns to contact their local health authorities.