MOH: Vendors That Dunk Hot Charcoal Into Their Coffee May Be Fined RM10K Or Jailed
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised food vendors and consumers against adding charcoal to coffee drinks, which has reportedly become a trend in the country
In a statement on Sunday, 26 November, the ministry stated that the act is an offence under Food Regulations 1985, reported Bernama.
"Ready-to-drink coffee is subject to Regulation 269A of the Food Regulations 1985, which only allows the addition of sugar, dextrose, glucose or honey, milk, cream, other foodstuffs, and permitted flavourings. Charcoal is not categorised as a food," read the statement.
Operators of food premises found serving coffee with charcoal could face prosecution and be fined a maximum of RM10,000 or imprisonment for up to two years, if found guilty.
It is claimed that this trend of charcoal coffee, also known as 'kopi arang' or 'kopi joss', originated from Indonesia. It boasts a unique bold taste and is believed to have detoxifying properties for the body.
However, health experts have expressed concern that consuming charcoal coffee could cause adverse effects on the body, including bloating, diarrhoea, and appendicitis.
MOH explained that the hot charcoal added directly to coffee is different from the activated charcoal commonly used in the food industry, as the latter undergoes processing and purification that makes it safe for consumption.
"However, with hot charcoal added directly to coffee, it is not possible to determine whether it has been properly processed or whether it is suitable for consumption, as it may contain foreign substances or other toxic elements."
"As a precautionary measure, an investigation will be conducted upon receiving complete information about the affected food premises," the ministry said.