KEMAMAN, Jan 19 – The Health Ministry has been directed to take samples of the Gala and Granny Smith apples in Sarawak suspected to be tainted with Listeriosis Monocytogenes bacteria for testing, said its minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam.
As a precautionary measure, he said the state department had been informed to take the samples following an initial check which showed one or two importing companies in Sarawak could have brought in tainted apples from the United States.
“At the same time, I have asked the ministy’s Food Quality and Safety Division to hold discussions with the agriculture attache from the US embassy to ensure we obtain detailed information on the apples exported from their country to our country.
“Apples detected with the bacteria is confined to only one state in the US, which has many farms producing apples and, up to now, the ministry is still looking at whether Malaysia is getting any tainted apples from that place,” the minister told reporters after a working visit to the Kemaman Hospital, Monday.
Also present were Terengganu Health deputy director Dr Mohamad Nor and district health officer Dr Mohd Anuar Abdul Rahman.
The ministry Sunday consficated 19,960 Gala and Granny Smith apples imported from the US worth RM82,000 in Kuching and Sibu, Sarawak after apples marketed by Bidart Brothers in Bakersfield, California were suspected to be contaminated with the bacteria that could caused deaths.
Any queries can be forwarded to the ministry through the nearest district health office or state health department via website http://fsq.moh.gov.my or BKKM facebbok www.facebook.com/bkkmhq.