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#NSTViral: 'Air balang' in aquarium-style container sparks online debate on food safety

KUALA LUMPUR: A picture of a Malaysian beverage called "air balang" sold in an aquarium-style container complete with a water filter pump has gone viral on social media, prompting netizens to debate on food safety.

The picture, shared by Tasnim Yusuke in the Facebook group Malaysian Aquascaping Club depicted the ubiquitous Malaysian beverage teh tarik being sold in a container resembling an aquarium equipped with a water filter pump.

In the caption she wrote: "Aquarium, check! Filter, check! The drink is mixed well because… because they can… creative!"

The post has since been shared more than 1,400 times on Facebook.

Patrick Wong commented: "Oh my god, this is not the right gimmick to do brother. The filter motor is oily (for lubrication)."

Facebook user Umar Ramli also commented saying that the type of container used was not of food grade and could cause cancer, "This is not food grade, cancer says hi.."

Meanwhile, another user Hosny Ishak took a veiled jab at the post by commenting: "You should put a pleco fish in the tank, the bottom of the tank should be cleaner afterwards."

Public health information page, Public Health Malaysia were also quick to warn social media users over the trend of using aquariums as "air balang" containers and urged that sellers to stop using them.

In a post on the page, it said, not all materials were suitable for storing and preparing food and traders must be reminded to prioritise food safety for consumers.

"The use of an aquarium can cause the leakage of unsafe chemicals from the aquarium material (silicone) into the food. There are dangerous chemicals that can cause cancer.

"Aquarium pumps, aquarium linings and aquarium crevices are also difficult to clean and presents a risk of bacterial and fungal growth.

"Traders are reminded to prioritise consumer safety and consumers also need to be wise in choosing safe food premises," the page said.

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