The Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam, Selangor (CASSA) today called upon the Health Ministry to immediate ban Ephedra and other dietary supplements which contains the said product, after U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had banned the weight-loss herb Ephedra because it poses unreasonable risks such as heart attacks and strokes.

It is pertinent that Malaysian health authorities immediately verify the presence and extent of the usage of the said product in Malaysia.

It is also crucial that an immediate ban be announced and all health stores and pharmacies be notified to recall the said product.

"We need to ascertain if dietary supplements containing (Ephedra) are widespread, have been heavily promoted and widely used by Malaysian consumers.

In view of the threat it poses an immediate ban must be imposed.”

CASSA is advised that Ephedra, also known as ‘ma huang’, is a stimulant that raises blood pressure and stresses the circulatory system, effects that have been linked to serious heart problems, strokes and deaths.

Ephedra is an adrenaline-like stimulant that can have potentially dangerous effects on the heart,"

The FDA has reports of 155 deaths of people who took Ephedra and more than 16,500 complaints.

Ephedra has been promoted for losing weight, boosting energy and enhancing sports performance.

The substance had already been banned by the International Olympic Committee and the National Football League.

CASSA is advised by their US counterparts that in the year 2001, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen petitioned the government to ban it outright.

CASSA maintains the case of Ephedra makes it clear that there are too many healthy sounding "herbal" potions and pills that can be obtained without a prescription and have not been sufficiently tested to make sure they are safe, let alone effective.

Any product linked to thousands of "adverse" health reports should not be on the market, or at least should be tightly regulated.

The Ministry of Health must move more quickly to protect consumers from questionable products that may endanger lives.

Ephedra, used for weight loss and bodybuilding, has been linked to 155 deaths, including that of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler last February, and dozens of heart attacks and strokes.

Millions of consumers throughout the world have used Ephedra dietary supplements as a safe, inexpensive and effective means by which to support weight loss


The Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam Selangor (CASSA) today welcomed the government’s decision to join ranks with 6 countries, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and Japan to ban imports of beef from the United States of America.

It is clear that the government has taken a proactive act here, is cognizance of consumer views and feedbacks to protect the health and well being of all Malaysians by this decision.

The decision comes after the United States reported its first suspected case of mad cow disease.

However, CASSA also calls upon the government to seek clarifications from American based fast food chains in the country on their source of beef and if required, to enforce a blanket ban on these outlets, until such information was readily available to protect the rights and interests of all consumers in the country!


The Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (CASSA) today called upon the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct immediate checks on all fast food chains in the country to ascertain if growth promoting antibiotics and banned antibiotics are present in the food sold to unsuspecting consumers!

The call is made after recent reports in the USA state that one major fast food chain instructed its meat suppliers to phase out growth-promoting antibiotics that are also used in human medicine, prompted by concerns that overuse could reduce the effectiveness of the drugs in people. 

The food chain which is the largest fast-food chain in the World, uses more than 2.5 billion pounds of chicken, beef, and pork annually. 

The report indicated that this particular fast food chain, as part of its new policy calls for the elimination of antibiotic drugs some producers have used to help animals grow faster. It sets standards for its direct suppliers and encourages indirect suppliers to take similar steps. 

If this has been a practice abroad it is pertinent that both the Ministry of Agriculture and Health conduct immediate and separate probes in Malaysia to ascertain that such practices are not practiced or rampant here where regular monitoring and enforcement is seriously questioned!

It is crucial that such anti growth promoting and banned antibiotics policy be similarly practiced here in Malaysia where heightened consumer awareness over the use of additives in food production, including a backlash against genetically modified crops is gaining strength! 

Malaysian Fast food chains which are found to be involved in such practices should be immediately blacklisted to protect consumer and public interest!