Pure Stevia contains no stevia, will be recalled: Health Ministry

HASHINI KAVISHTRI KANNAN

PUTRAJAYA: Pure Stevia, a product manufactured by VJS Cosmo Enterprise, does not, in fact, contain stevia – tests conducted by the Health Ministry has found.

Following this, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry's Food Safety and Quality Division has ordered the company to recall its product from the market.

He said the ministry will also take legal action against the company for misrepresenting its product under the Food Act 1983.

Stevia is a healthy sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from leaves of the plant species 'Stevia rebaudiana'.

"The ministry will continue to monitor stevia products in the country, and if any (other) company is found to have violated the Food Act 1983, legal action will be taken and the public will be informed," Dr Noor Hisham said in a statement.

The public is also encouraged to contact their district Health Department, or email the ministry at www.moh.spab.gov.my, if they have any queries on food safety and security issues.

"The ministry is aware of and concerned over issues which could harm the public's health," he added.

Last month, a Malay daily reported that laboratory tests by Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia showed that the 10 stevia products in the country do not contain the plant extract, but instead, a combination of dangerous chemicals.