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Removal of taste enhancer across the nation goes on JAKARTA - The withdrawal of over 3,000 tons of Ajinomoto taste enhancers continued across the country on Sunday as six PT Ajinomoto Indonesia executives remain in detention over the controversy, concerning the use of pig enzymes in its production process. Police assisted the withdrawal of all Ajinomoto taste enhancers over the weekend, and as of Sunday afternoon seized at least 110 kilograms from several traditional markets in the capital.
As many as 15,008 packages, or 180 tons, of the company's product were also reportedly seized at the company's warehouse in North Jakarta on Saturday. In Batam, Riau, the company's local distributor has recalled at least 100 Ajinomoto packages, chief of the distribution firm Wendy said on Saturday. As much as 23 tons of MSG has been distributed in Batam since Dec. 20. The firm distributed 13 tons itself, while the remaining 10 tons were dispersed by distributor PT Mostplay in Tanjung Pinang, Bintan Island.
A team, consisting of officials from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Batam mayoralty, found no products while inspecting local markets on Saturday. The company produced a total of 10,000 tons of MSG through its factory in Mojokerto, East Java. Up to 3,000 tons was marketed locally, while the remaining 7,000 tons was exported. PT Ajinomoto has come under fire since the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) announced that the company had used pig enzymes, or bactoysoyton, in its production process. Islam bans pork and pork by-products.
Meanwhile six executives of PT Ajinomoto Indonesia remained in detention on Sunday. City Police Chief Insp. Gen. Mulyono Sulaiman said the six officials were arrested because they are believed to have had prior knowledge of the production and marketing of the non-compliant monosodium glutamate taste enhancer. "We can coordinate our investigation with the East Java Police investigation," Mulyono told reporters from his official residence on Sunday. City Police arrested two of the executives, the firm's general manager Cokorda Bagus Sudarta and its senior manager Yusi R. Purba, on Saturday.
The remaining four, the company's technical director Yosuko Koyama, quality control manager Haryono, production manager Hartono and factory manager Hary Saksono were arrested in East Java on Friday night. The executives were arrested for violating the Consumer Protection Law No. 8/1999, particularly Article 8 which stipulates that a product should follow halal procedures if it is labeled halal (allowable for Muslim consumption under Islamic law). Violations of the article attract a maximum sentence of five years in jail or a maximum fine of Rp 2 billion, according to Article 63 of the Law.
Mulyono said that the executives' arrests were made in response to a complaint submitted by the Indonesian Consumer Institute Foundation (YLKI). YLKI, representing five women's organizations, filed the complaint on Friday, accusing the company of deception. Meanwhile in Tokyo on Saturday, Japan's Ajinomoto Co. expressed regret that its products had generated concern among consumers.
"We have caused concern among consumers over a religious issue," a public relations official at the company's Tokyo head office said, as quoted by Kyodo. A product recall has also begun in Singapore, which the Indonesian unit supplies, the firm said, while claiming that Ajinomoto products in Malaysia do not contain extracts from pork fat, as has been previously alleged.



Posted in General @ 08 January 2002 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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