PUTRAJAYA, Jan 22 – The Health Ministry today confirmed that no Malaysians were affected by the Granny Smith and Gala apples that were alleged to be contaminated with the ‘Listeria Monocytegenes’ bacteria. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said the ministry has to date, no specific proof to indicate the alleged contaminated apples had reached Malaysia.
Subramaniam said the action of the ministry to seize 20,000 apples imported from the United States by two fruit importers in Kuching and Sibu, Sarawak was merely for further examination. “I have also directed the Disease Control Division to take apples from all border entry points and shops selling apples, for examination.
To date, we do not have cases reported due to the consumption of apples in Malaysia,” he told reporters at his office here, today. Last Saturday, the Health Ministry was reported to be cognizant of the issue of ‘Listeria monocytegenes’ bacteria contamination of Granny Smith and Gala apples produced by the Bidart Brothers Company from Bakersfield, California, United States.
Consequently, the Health Ministry was reported to have directed importers of the Granny Smith and Gala apples to recall the products from the market following allegations that the apples were contaminated with bacteria, other than sealing apples found on the premises of the importers.
Subramaniam, in the meantime, urged all apple traders to highlight the country of origin of their apples to give confidence to the people to buy the apples and make the best choice. On another development, he said 753 cases which were suspected to be leptospirosis were reported following the incidents of floods in several states from January till yesterday.
Of the total, Subramaniam said 126 leptospirosis cases had been confirmed, namely 62 cases in Kelantan, Terengganu (28), Perak (22) and Pahang (14). Leptospirosis is a zoonosis disease (disease which is transmitted from animal to man), caused by the bacteria from the genus Leptospirosis.