We call on the Malaysian Health Ministry to improve the efficiency of monitoring food quality in the country in addition to the new tracing system of food production


Press Statement
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw

(Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday):  The day before yesterday, Chua Jui Meng said that the tracing system was needed to face the possibility that the United States would impose product tracing requirements for exporting food to that country. This anticipation is necessary. We hope that the system will be efficient.

 After 911 in 2001, there have been measures to curb bio-terrorism. Chua used the launching of the National Food Safety Policy to make known his plan of action, using information and communication technology (ICT) for food tracing. Apparently, this will be implemented by 22 governmental and non-governmental agencies at over 30 import points.

 Last year, Malaysia imported and exported food worth RM12.4 million and exported RM7.6 billion respectively. We are net importer of food, including raw materials for feed meal.

 If the system can ensure safe food, then it will be worthwhile. On the other hand, the Food Control Quality Division has yet to improve on its supervision of food such as vegetables, fish, meat and fruits. For instance, we are concerned about the use of insecticides, herbicides, antibiotics and beta-agonist. How safe are the imported mangoes or domestic vegetables?  Although the Minister has repeatedly highlighted the action taken on the
use of the banned substances like beta-agonist, we can see that the substance is still used to produce lean meat. For over two decades, we have broached the issue of beta-agonist. The drug affects health. But, the problem is unresolved. Is the coordination between the Veterinary Department, Agriculture Ministry, and the Health Ministry good enough?

 Every year, the Food Quality Control Division spends over RM20 million to monitor various types of food. Nevertheless, its ways of food monitoring at various stages have left much to be desired.


*  Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Vice-Chairman and MP for Kepong