Brunei: Red flag raised on food product

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has raised the red flag on a dietary product found to contain sibutramine, following testing by the Department of Scientific Services under MoH.

Extra Looksliim (lemon tea flavoured, 15 packets x 15g) is manufactured by AS Legacy Sdn Bhd Malaysia. The use of sibutramine in food is prohibited under the Public Health Regulations (Food), (PI Chapter 182).

Sibutramine is a body slimming agent that is no longer recommended for use in obesity treatment because of its harmful effects on the heart and liver.

Ingestion of sibutramine can cause serious adverse effects such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and difficulty in sleeping; and in the worst case, damage to the kidneys and liver.

The MoH advised users to discontinue use of the product and surrender it to the Food Safety and Quality Control Division, Environmental Health Service Department or health offices to be destroyed.

The MoH requested importers and retailers to recall the products from the market and surrender them to the Food Safety and Quality Control Division, the Environmental Health Service Department or health offices to be destroyed.

The MoH reminded that under Section 9 of subsection (1) subparagraph (i) of the Public Health (Food) Act (Chapter 182) any person who prepares, sells or imports a food item that can harm health can be imprisoned for five years, fined or both.

The public is also reminded that it is an offence under Section 17 of the Poisons Act 1956 (Chapter 114) to sell any product containing controlled substances.

Individuals who violate this provision may be liable to a BND8,000 fine or six months’ jail – if found guilty. Additionally, individuals who commit a negligible act that results in endangering a human life may be fined BND16,000 and 12 months in prison, if found guilty.

Information on the import of food products can be obtained from the Quality Control and Food Security Division of the Environmental Health Service Department of the MoH by calling 2237417 or faxing 2237467. Information is also available at the Pharmacy Enforcement Division, Department of Pharmaceutical Services, Department of Pharmaceutical Services building in Kampong Madaras or by contacting 2393298 (ext 208), faxing 2393291 or e-mailing [email protected].