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Contamination of Ghee



Dear ghee enthusuiasts,

Hare Krishna!

Contamination of ghee is a world-wide phenomena. Queensland Butter Board ghee in the green can (QBB) used to be a reputable ghee here in Australia. In fact it was the first ghee ever produced here, back at the turn of the 20th century, when lack of refrigeration in remote farms in Queensland made butter storage problematic.

Apparently it has finally shut down it's operations here in Australia, but the name and label is used in Malaysia. There has been big scandal about finding gross contaminants in it, specifically pig products, so it has successfully offended Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Vaisnavas alike.

"This product constitutes of decolorized and deodorized lard (pig fat) in semi-solid state with permitted additives giving the product color, flavor and aroma similar to that of pure ghee color, flavor and aroma.”

(full original report is below)...

This should certainly put you off buying ghee from dubious sources. Here in Australia I strongly urge my cookery students to only by Allowrie ghee and never anything imported.



dasa,

Kurma

...........................................................................


Hare Krishna!

We have just received information that the report we lodged with the Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) a couple of months ago to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee from supermarket shelves to check whether they are contaminated with animal lard or oil or chemicals has turned in some positive results with serious implications for all devotees and leaders in our Krishna-conscious society.


CAP, acting on the complaints received from us and other parties, communicated the matter to the government's Islamic Development department (JAKIM), who in turn got the Chemistry Department to do some testing. The Chemistry department have tested at least one brand of supermarket "ghee" which had featured prominently in most of the complaints, QBB brand, and reportedly found it to be mixed with "doubtful elements".


CAP president and veteran campaigner of consumer rights SM Mohamed Idris issued a press statement in Penang yesterday with the following warning to Muslims and all vegetarians:


"JAKIM and the Chemistry Department have tested the ghee and found it to contain doubtful elements and therefore cannot be consumed by Muslims and other vegetarians."


The full text of his statement is included below.

In the meantime, JAKIM has withdrawn their "halal" certification from QBI Packaging Sdn Bhd, the suppliers of QBB "ghee". They posted the following statement on their website today:


Adalah dimaklumkan bahawa JAKIM telah mengambil keputusan untuk menggantung Sijil Pengesahan Halal Malaysia kepada Syarikat QBI Packaging Sdn Bhd sehingga
JAKIM berpuas hati status kehalalan produk berkenaan berkuatkuasa 19 Ogos 2010.
Oleh yang demikian, QBI Packaging Sdn Bhd adalah dilarang serta merta menggunakan logo halal Malaysia pada semua produk berjenama QBB Pure Ghee.


Sekian, terima kasih

- Pegawai Perhubungan Awam JAKIM

Tarikh : 24 Ogos 2010
Sumber : Unit Perhubungan Awam JAKIM
Editor : PRO JAKIM

CAP is now calling the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism to immediately ban the sale of QBB ghee in Malaysia.


Now what are the repercussions of all the above developments for ISKCON members?

Firstly, it confirms our suspicions about supermarket "ghee" being potentially contaminated with animal lard/oil/chemicals. And I wouldn't limit the suspicions to QBB brand alone.


Previously Ajamila Prabhu did his own testing of another well-known brand of supermarket "ghee" that he had purchased (a bucket, for about RM120), showed us the horrible results, and dumped the entire bucket.


If we cannot trust supermarket "ghee" anymore, what are we to offer our Deities now, especially the Deities in the temple, since pure ghee is an essential element of ISKCON Deity worship?


The question wouldn't arise if ISKCON temples here maintained their own goshallas (cow shelters) , as many ISKCON temples in India do. Until we reach that standard, the compromise is to heat and clarify ghee

from butter (at least so long as they don't adulterate the butter with dubious elements)

Better still is to churn butter from cream or curd and clarify the ghee from it, as our Varnasrama Dharma Council coordinator Radha Ramana Prabhu is doing at the ISKCON Kluang centre.


At our National Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday, we distributed a "Cow Protection and Eco-Friendly" checklist to all ISKCON branch chairmen and temple presidents to fill in. This is to help us monitor the current standards being maintained at their respective centres/temples and measure their rate of improvement towards the desired standards.

Of the nine questions on this checklist, two pertain to ghee:


5. Standard of Ghee offered to the Deities

A. Ghee churned and clarified by devotees from milk/cream produced by devotees

B. Ghee churned and clarified by devotees from milk/cream produced by non-devotees

C. Ghee clarified by devotees from butter produced by non-devotees

D. Ghee made by local milkman

E. Ghee from retail stores




6. Is all Deity cooking done with only Ghee of at least 'C' standard (as above) or higher, without resorting to oil or other substitutes?


A. Yes
B. No

From the results filled in, we found that many centres are still offering "ghee" purchased from retail stores. After they have read this report of the latest developments, we hope that the leaders of these centres will raise their standards immediately to at least C-standard (if not higher) as stated above in the checklist's question

#5.You can help in the exercise by asking your local tp/branch chairman/committee what kind of ghee they are offering the Deities?

Below is the statement from CAP, and our series of communications with them in pursuing this matter.


In Vaisnava service,
Goloka Candra dasa

----- Original Message -----
From: "Uma" <idris_md@streamyx.com>

To: <goloka@vastuproperty.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 11:23 AM
Subject: RE: testing facilities to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee

23rd August 2010

URGENT PRESS RELEASE IMMEDIATELY STOP THE SALE OF QBB GHEE

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) calls on the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism to immediately call for the withdrawal of sale of QBB ghee being sold in Malaysia.

This is in view of the fact that the halal status of the ghee has been withdrawn by the Jabatan Kebangsaan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) on the grounds that it contains doubtful elements.

CAP has been liaising with JAKIM on the authenticity of the halal status of the ghee since July this year. In a reply to CAP of 20th August 2010, JAKIM had informed CAP that they were withdrawing the halal status of the ghee until they were convinced with the halal status of the product.

JAKIM and the Chemistry Department have tested the ghee and found it to contain doubtful elements and therefore cannot be consumed by Muslims and other vegetarians.

CAP calls on Malaysians to immediately stop consuming the ghee until its contents have been verified to be halal by JAKIM.

The Ministry of Domestic Trade Cooperative and Consumerism must immediately call for the total withdrawal of the product from the shelves as this is a serious matter and needs urgent action.


SM Mohamed Idris
President
Consumers Association of Penang

No. 10 Jalan Mesjid Negeri
11600 Penang
Tel: 04 8299511 Fax: 04 8298109 email: idrismd@tm.net.my



__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 5387 (20100823) __________

The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus.




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database 5391 (20100823) __________

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-----Original Message-----
From: goloka@vastuproperty.com [mailto:goloka@vastuproperty.com]

Sent: Tuesday, 24 August, 2010 11:16 AM
To: Uma
Subject: Re: testing facilities to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee

Dear Uma,
I searched for jakim's website and finally found the information on the withdrawal of the halal status at this url: http://www.islam.gov.my/portal/lihat.php?jakim=4835

It will be more helpful if you include the above url in your future communications to other members of the public who have similar queries on this subject. Secondly, you mentioned that you have issued a statement yesterday.

To whom?
Where is it available online?
If there's no embargo on it, and if this statement is indeed meant for public consumption, can you kindly forward it to us today instead of us having to wait for it to be published somewhere (and then having to search for it)?


Regards,
Goloka

----- Original Message -----
From: "Uma" <idris_md@streamyx.com>

To: <goloka@vastuproperty.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 8:32 AM
Subject: RE: testing facilities to verify the contents of sample cans of

ghee

Dear goloka

Greetings.

The information on the withdrawal of the halal status can be seen on the JAKIM website.


Please do refer to it.

We have issued a statement yesterday and trust it will be published tomorrow.

Thank you

Uma



-----Original Message-----
From: goloka@vastuproperty.com [mailto:goloka@vastuproperty.com]

Sent: Tuesday, 24 August, 2010 8:08 AM
To: Uma
Subject: Re: testing facilities to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee

Dear Uma,
It will helpful for our members if you can forward us the full text of the information you have received from JAKIM. Also, the full text of the statement that you have issued, together with the chemistry lab report.

Thank you.


Regards,
Goloka

----- Original Message -----
From: "Uma" <idris_md@streamyx.com>

To: <goloka@vastuproperty.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 7:35 AM
Subject: RE: testing facilities to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee


Dear goloka

Greetings.

We just informed yesterday by JAKIM that they have withdrawn the halal status of the QBB ghee because of doubtful elements found by the Chemistry department. We have issued a statement on the matter.

Thank you.

Ms. Uma



-----Original Message-----
From: goloka@vastuproperty.com [mailto:goloka@vastuproperty.com]

Sent: Monday, 23 August, 2010 8:09 PM
To: Uma
Subject: Re: testing facilities to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee

Dear Ms Uma,

Just to double-check, are you saying that none of the items mentioned below, that is, animal lard or vegetable oil or chemicals, were traced to any significant extent in the ghee samples?

Appreciate if your analysis can provide a breakdown of the contents of the ghee samples tested. The manufacturers generally label their products as "pure ghee" (which means that the contents should be mainly milk fats).

Thank you.

Regards,
Goloka

----- Original Message -----
From: "Uma" <idris_md@streamyx.com>

To: <goloka@vastuproperty.com>
Sent: Friday, August 20, 2010 12:32 PM
Subject: RE: testing facilities to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee

Dear ms. Goloka

Yes, and it was not traced. However, awaiting new information on the product.


Hope to receive the response before end of next week.

Uma


-----Original Message-----

From: goloka@vastuproperty.com [mailto:goloka@vastuproperty.com]

Sent: Friday, 20 August, 2010 9:51 AM
To: uma
Cc: cap1@streamyx.com

Subject: Re: testing facilities to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee

Dear Ms Uma,

Greetings.

We would like to know if there has been any progress in the testing of sample cans of ghee on retail shelves by the Consumers Association of Penang. It has been more than two months since the testing started.

Regards,
Goloka



----- Original Message -----
From: "uma" <idris_md@streamyx.com>

To: <goloka@vastuproperty.com>
Sent: Friday, June 11, 2010 4:58 PM
Subject: Re: testing facilities to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee

Dear ms. Goloka

Greetings.

We are in the midst of testing the product.


thank you

Uma

----- Original Message -----

From: <goloka@vastuproperty.com>
To: <cap1@streamyx.com>

Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 12:45 AM
Subject: testing facilities to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee


Dear Sir,
It has come to our attention that many brands of ghee being marketed in Malaysia contain cow and pig lard or vegetable oil or chemicals, all disguised to look like ghee. We would like to know whether CAP has testing facilities, or can point us to any organisation with such testing facilities, to verify the contents of sample cans of ghee taken randomly from shop shelves.


SInce it is important to our members that the ghee used in our cooking and religious ceremonies be uncontaminated (especially no animal lard), we appreciate your advice in this matter.

Thank you.


Regards,
Goloka Candra dasa

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Malaysia

2 April 2010
Attention: Ms. Tan Poh Hong
CEO
Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority
5, Maxwell Road
Tower Block, MND Complex
Singapore 069110

Dear Madam

We wish to inform your goodself that for years, our consumer group as many other faithful consumers have been using “QQB” Ghee for various delicacies and religious functions without doubt, with full confidence that the said product is manufactured from the milk of dairy cows by its highly reputable manufacturer based in Queensland , Australia .
However, lately, we found that although the colour and aroma had now varied much, the taste seemed to be somewhat different. Therefore, we investigated this matter and concluded the following matters:
Its manufacturer Butter Producers’ Co-operative Federation Ltd (BPCF) addressed as No. 489, Kingsford Smith Drive , Hamilton , Brisbane , Australia had ceased operations in September 2006 and was no longer listed in the website of Australian trade authority being http://www.austrade/gov.au. In fact the satellite picture as the website http://maps./google.com shows that the following site is vacant land.

Printed on the tin is that the said product is manufactured from milkfat of dairy cows of Australia and in even smaller and rather unclear script, it is mentioned that its manufacturer is Q.B.I. Packaging Sdn Bhd, No. 19, Lorong Keluli 1C, Kawasan Perindustrian Bukit Raja Selatan, 41050 Shah Alam, Selangor DE.,Malaysia and that the said product is manufactured under license from QBB (Pte.) Ltd., Singapore .


QBB Pte Ltd.., Singapore was originally the sole agent for “QBB” Ghee for Malaysia , Singapore and Brunei and it is not clear whether at the time when BPCF ceased operations in 2006, the “QBB” trademark rights were transferred from BPCF to QBB Ptd Ltd., Singapore . We suspect that Q.B.I. Packaging Sdn Bhd and QBB Ptd Ltd., Singapore are together carrying an act of piracy i.e. producing and selling a product whose legitimate manufacturing and sales rights were not transferred to them by its original manufacturer BPCF who was since wound up.


The report of an analysis conducted by a reputable food technology laboratory in Australia on the contents of a 2-lb tin of this product, where the said tin was taken from Malaysia to Australia by one of our group members, mentions the following:-
“This product constitutes of decolorized and deodorized lard (pig fat) in semi-solid state with permitted additives giving the product color, flavor and aroma similar to that of pure ghee color, flavor and aroma.” (Original report is with the sender of this letter).


Therefore, our consumer group had to boycott the use of this product as:-

a) Our muslim members cannot use this product as it is haram by religion

b) Our Hindu and Sikh members cannot use this product for burning of ghee lamps, religious functions or for preparing sweetmeats as places of worship which forbid the use of any animal oil/animal fat.

c) Our vegetarian Buddist friends who only consume vegetarian diet cannot consume the said product.

We believe that the “QBB Ghee” sold in Malaysia , Singapore and Brunei ever since BPCF closed down, is a product which is violating the related laws on the principle of “misrepresentation of label”. Therefore we hope that your goodself will take the appropriate action to stop the sale of this product.

Thanking you.

Letter signed by Mohd Kadir bin Mohd Karim (I/C
No. 601223-10-6157)
Secretary of Kumpulan Konsumer Satu Malaysia
(KKSM)

Note: Copy of this letter and analysis report sent to YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abd. Khalid bin Ibrahim, Menteri Besar Selangor DE.

From :
SENIOR OFFICER,
ENGINEERING ((x53160)/65403160)


From :
Officer,
ENGINEERING SUPPLIES ((x14995)/65414995)

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