Health Ministry monitoring sale of small pineapples for cyclamate

Health Ministry monitoring sale of small pineapples for cyclamate

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has increased monitoring of small pineapples or “baby pineapples” to ensure that the fruit imported into the country does not contain artificial sweeteners like cyclamate.

The ministry’s Food Safety and Quality Division senior director Norrani Eksan, in a statement, said her division had been monitoring since 2017.

“Starting in 2021, we had also imposed Hold, Test and Pass inspections on baby pineapples (with peeled skin) imported into the country.

“So far, a total of 115 samples have been taken for the purpose of analysing various parameters. Of that number, 11 samples were found to contain cyclamate and those involved were already convicted and imposed a fine totalling RM8,500.”

She was commenting on the issue that went viral of small pineapples allegedly containing cyclamate, a type of sweetener that is 30 to 50 times sweeter than sucrose.

Norrani said according to the Codex General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA), cyclamate is allowed to be added in certain foods such as jam, jelly and marmalade, cocoa products and chocolate products including cocoa spread and compound chocolate as well as flavoured (soft) drinks.

“However, cyclamate is not allowed to be added to fresh fruits, including those that have been peeled or ready to eat. The 1985 Food Regulations do not allow the addition of cyclamate to fresh fruits,” she said.

She warned that anyone found to be in violation of the provision could be fined not more than RM20,000 or imprisoned for a period not exceeding five years or both. – Bernama

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