Merchant assoc: Low-quality milk powder passed off as branded infant formula

THE Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Association of Malaysia president Hong Chee Meng believes the culprits behind the counterfeit version of Enfalac A+ Step 1 infant formula milk powder sold in Johor have mixed powdered milk for baking with the genuine product to reap profit.

He urged federation members not to compromise good business ethics when sourcing their infant formulas, China Press reported today.

He said the counterfeit infant formula milk powder appeared to be confined to several stores in south Johor where 210 boxes were confiscated by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry last Thursday.

"We are waiting for the test results of the seized product by the health authorities. We do not discount the possibility of unscrupulous people mixing powdered milk meant for baking with the genuine stuff and passed it off as a branded product.

"We believe the retailers found selling the counterfeit product are innocent. They could have obtained the product from a cheaper source without suspecting they would end up with imitation stuff," he said.

He pointed out that the retail outlets where the counterfeit infant formula was seized are not members of the federation.

"It is understood that the stores concerned obtained their products from a wholesaler. The cost price could be lower but they ended up with fake goods," he said, and reminded federation members to source their products direct from manufacturers to avoid any likelihood of getting imitation goods.

Meanwhile, Mead Johnson Malaysia said it is conducting a sweep of retail stores in Johor to trace and confiscate counterfeit versions of its infant formula Enfalac A+ Step 1 (1.8kg boxes).

It said the easiest way to identify the counterfeit product is to examine the individual foil pouches.

"The genuine Enfalac A+ Step 1 pouches are a bit puffy. The counterfeit pouches are tight-fitting to the powder and have distinctive, sharp creases on both sides that are not present in genuine pouches," the company said in a statement on Monday.