Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dried Fruit Products (containing lead) on Level 5 alert

Recently, CAP (Consumer Association of Penang) highlighted that dried cuttlefish poses a danger to consumption due to its high content of cadmium. In fact, most food contains a certain amount of poisonous or carcinogenic elements and we console ourselves with 'everything in moderation'. However, there are some elements that if accumulated over time can be a danger to one's health. Lead is one of them.

It has been found that lead, in cumulative amounts over time, causes nervous system disorders and distorts brain development, especially in children.

Major newspapers today carry the article below on dried fruit products to avoid as they contain high levels of lead which has been placed on a Level 5 alert.

From The Star:

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has put dried fruit products, particularly plum and prune products, from China, Taiwan and other Asian countries, on Level 5 alert because of their high levels of lead.

Ministry staff will be on the lookout for these products at entry points for 16 manufacturers and distributors to ensure the products do not come into the country, Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said on Thursday.

With a Level 5 alert, the Ministry would hold the products to test them for lead content before they can be released into the market.

The highest alert, Level 6, involves an immediate rejection of the product.

Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the monitoring was started following an Oct 1 US Food and Drug Administration report warning people not to consume dried fruit, including dried plums and prunes, due to lead contamination.

“If a product by a manufacturer or distributor is found to contain more than the permitted two parts per million (ppm), legal action will be taken under the Food Regulations 1985,” Liow told reporters after launching the ministry’s management conference on Thursday.

If convicted, guilty parties can be fined up to RM100,000, jailed for up to 10 years or both.

Lead, in cumulative amounts over time, causes nervous system disorders and distorts brain development, especially in children.

Here's the list of products affected.


  1. ooops, scary to know that!! but i guess it's always better to have fresh ones than processed ones.. but those fresh ones you bought are never as good as the one you produce.. so shall we grow our own food instead?? :p

  2. Gosh! Dried stuff are not healthy after all. :(

  3. Wondering if Singapore also import those dried fruits. They have a more stringent standard...

  4. Better not to eat dried fruits! Why eat dried fruits when raw fresh fruits are so much healthier?

  5. I wonder how the lead got into these products. Just drying a plum or other fruit won't change the contents. Perhaps they were treated with some chemical containing lead during processing.

  6. I am staying off food products from China. Just not trustworthy.

  7. SK, growing our own fruits would be ideal, of course, but unfortunately not every kind of fruit can grow in our weather though I know grapes can be grown here.

    Tekkaus, but we've been eating them all these years. I hope everything in moderation helps some.

  8. KS, I'm sure they do too. Let me check with people I know in Sgp. From what I know, they are most times ahead of us.

    Foong, agree but who can resist asam buay, eh? haha.... These are used in drinks too. No?

  9. PandaB, I think that's more like it. Some form of lead-content preservative could have been used to prolong shelf-life.

    Mei Teng, I am too on certain products.