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

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

The Starfresh brand, as well as another bottled drinking water brand Waterfuns, were found to contain Pseudomonas aeruginosa. (Photo: Malaysia Ministry of Health)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Health ministry has suspended the licence of the factory which produces Starfresh bottled drinking water, following the recall of the product in Singapore for containing bacteria

"The Ministry of Health's food safety and quality department conducted checks on the factory and found that the food safety assurance programme was not implemented effectively," said the ministry's director general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on Monday (Jul 1). 

READ: Starfresh bottled drinking water from Malaysia recalled after bacteria detected

Water from Starfresh, as well as another bottled drinking water brand Waterfuns, were found to contain Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common environmental bacteria, he said in the statement.

The ministry has ordered the factory to recall both brands of bottled drinking water from the local market, he added.

The affected products were the 500ml and 1500ml bottles which expire on May 11, 2021 and May 13, 2021. 

The ministry has also suspended the factory's licence from last Friday. The factory is expected to carry out corrective actions, and business operations will not be allowed. 

"The factory has also informed that they will voluntarily recall other bottled drinking product brands involved, which includes Iceberg, Sukahati, Ro Fina, Dixy Green and Dixy Blue," said Dr Noor Hisham.

The ministry will increase its monitoring of bottled drinking water in the local market to ensure compliance with the Food Act, he added.

Bottles of Starfresh drinking water.

On Jun 12, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said it had directed importer, Radha Exports, to recall all the implicated Starfresh products.

Replying to CNA's queries then, Radha Exports said that all of the affected bottles had been recalled from the shelves. 

The implicated products will be "dealt with in accordance with the regulatory guidelines of the Singapore authorities", said the company. 

It added that the water originated from one of the company's factories in Malaysia.

Weeks later, SFA announced that the import of all bottled drinking and mineral water from Malee Mineral Water was banned after the same bacteria was detected in recent consignments. 

Malee Mineral Water has three drinking water lines, according to its website - Sukahati, Ro Fina and Still.

The Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, which can be found in soil, water and on plants, can cause infections in humans with weakened immune systems. 

The use or consumption of products containing the bacteria can cause a range of infections but "rarely cause serious illness" in healthy people, according to SFA. 

Source: CNA/ad(hm)

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