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Malaysian Health Ministry Finds Food Dye in Three Chicken Samples

30 September 2013

MALAYSIA - The Health Ministry has found three samples of chickens coloured with yellow food dye to be passed off as "kampung" chicken.

One sample found that tartrazine food colouring was used while two others were found to contain tartrazine and the Sunset Yellow FCF dye, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

According to The Star Online, he said action would be taken against the culprits.

Under the Food Regulation 1985, even food colouring cannot be added to chicken.

It is against the Food Act 1983 and if found guilty, the offender can be fined a maximum of RM20,000 or imprisoned not more than five years or both.

Dr Subramaniam said the samples containing the dyes were taken from Selangor and Penang but that samples from Johor and Kuala Lumpur were also taken for laboratory tests.

“Although some of the dyes are not harmful to health, it is wrong as the act gives a false impression of the product.

“We will continue monitoring and testing chicken samples to ensure that such irresponsible acts are stopped,” Dr Subramaniam said at a press conference on Friday.

Meanwhile, Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement that the use of Aniline or any other harmful substance as food colouring was against the law under the Food Act 1983.

He warned that anyone found guilty of selling food items posing health risks could be fined up to RM100,000 or imprisoned for a period not exceeding ten years or both.

The public doubtful about any form of food quality can call the ministry’s Department of Food Safety and Quality at 03-8883 3558 or email

StarMetro recently reported that some chicken sellers were cheating consumers by selling plucked yellow chickens as the kampung variety. when they were actually farm-bred chicken. Also higlighted was the more serious issue of Aniline dye being used in the colouring process.

Aniline dye is normally used to colour leather and woodworks.

Those who regularly buy chicken would have noticed that some plucked chickens are more yellow in colour than others.

The situation may have raised a few eyebrows but never questioned, that is until StarMetro was alerted recently that some unscrupulous chicken sellers were adding yellow colouring to the chickens.

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ThePoultrySite News Desk

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