Tuesday, March 19

User of prohibited tea colourings opts to pay RM9,000 fine

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KUCHING: A manufacturer and supplier of tea was yesterday fined RM9,000 by Sri Aman magistrates’ court for tainting tea dust with an unpermitted colour.In default he would be imprisoned for five months.

Magistrate Zulhairil Sulaiman, in making the decision, mentioned that the accused was a repeat offender who had committed the same offences throughout the state.

Sulaiman’s decision, issued yesterday, took into consideration that the tainted tea dust product can adversely affect the health of consumers, especially children.

The brief facts of the case stated that on July 22 last year, Assistant Environmental Health Officer Garry Bana Masing accompanied by a colleague Emily Nyubiew (both are from Sri Aman Divisional Health Office) sampled and inspected food at Syarikat Leng Seng in Club Road, Sri Aman in accordance with the Food Act 1983.

Both officers sampled Ceylon Black Tea for analysis by the Food Safety and Quality Laboratory of the state Health Department.

The result showed that the tea dust contained two colouring substances -Sunset Yellow FCF and Tartrazine.

The colourings are illegal under Regulation 260(3) of Food Regulation 1985 which read together with Section 13(B) of Food Act 1983.

The director of Gold Leaf Manufacturing Sdn Bhd who manufactured and supplied the coloured tea to Syarikat Leng Leng in Sri Aman was the offender pursuant to Section 24(3) of the Food Act 1983 and subject to punishment under Section 13(B) of the same act.

The offender can be fined not more than RM20,000 or imprisonment for a term not more than five years or both.

The prosecutor, Samuil-Ashton Satu, submitted that the addition of the colouring substances rendered the food unwholesome.

He said this act falls under fraud aimed at reaping profits without regards for public health.

Sunset Yellow YCF and tartrazine could cause allergy, especially in children where they have been associated with thyroid tumour and hyperactivity as well as other sicknesses.

Director of Gold Leaf Manufacturing, Cheng Nam Long, appointed a supervisor in Kuching to appear on behalf of the company.

The company opted to pay the fine.