The Ministry of Health (MoH) has banned the sale and use of Slymchoco or Slymochoco chocolate product found to contain scheduled poison, Sibutramine, a chemical compound that acts as an appetite suppressant.

In a statement today, MoH reminded offline and online traders to stop selling the product immediately and contact the nearest District Health Office.

It also instructed all advertising media, including on e-commerce and social media platforms, to cease advertising the banned food product.

“Members of the public must stop taking the product immediately and seek advice and treatment from health professionals,” it said, urging consumers to exercise caution and prudence when purchasing food products that may be adulterated with prohibited substances.

The product was also found not complying with labelling requirements under the Food Regulations 1985 because they lacked the product name in the Malay language and did not include the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor or proprietor, apart from claiming that it is a ‘premium’ product and displaying fake GMP and MeSTI Certifications.

Due to the violations, the product cannot be advertised for sale or sold as stipulated under Regulation 9 of the Food Regulations 1985, it said.

MoH stated that based on data from an international study known as ‘Sibutramine on Cardiovascular Outcome Study (SCOUT)’, Sibutramine has been found to increase cardiovascular risks such as heart attacks and strokes in obese patients.

“Hence, MoH has classified Sibutramine as a prohibited substance,” it said, adding that among the reported side effects are disruptions in the function of the heart system, such as causing the heart to beat faster even in a resting state.

“There are also mild effects such as dry mouth, nausea, constipation, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, menstrual cramps and so on,” it said, adding that Sibutramine is widely used in weight loss products.

According to MoH, under Section 13 of the Food Act 1983, it is an offence for any parties to prepare or sell food products containing poisonous and harmful substances, which is liable to a fine of up to RM100,000 or a jail term of up to 10 years or both.

It said, under its Food Safety and Quality programme, MoH would conduct regular inspections to ensure that no food products containing or mixed with prohibited substances such as Sildenafil, Tadalafil, Sibutramine, Dexamethasone and Prednisolone are being sold.

“Should consumers have any concerns regarding any food safety issues, they can contact the nearest District Health Office or State Health Department or contact the ministry via or Food Safety and Quality Division Facebook page,” it added.

Source: Bernama (16 March 2024)