Unilever in RP says milk tea products from Indonesia

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2008 10:49 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2008 06:49 AM

The local office of food giant Unilever clarified Tuesday that its milk tea powder products under the Lipton brand are made in Indonesia, thus dousing fears that products being sold in the Philippines has milk ingredients tainted with melamine from China.

"What we have here are products that came from Indonesia. The Indonesian company sent us a statement that all products are from New Zealand, Europe and Australia," said Chito Macapagal, Unilever's vice-president for corporate affairs.

According to Macapagal, apart from the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia sources its milk tea products from Indonesia.

He explained that all three variants of the milk tea -- original, gold, and vanilla flavors -- are safe. He advised consumers to look at the label,  which should indicate 'Product of Indonesia".

He added that Unilever is even willing to replace milk tea considered "grey imports" or those brought in from abroad, for as long as these are for personal consumption only and in limited quantities.

Macapagal's statement followed an Associated Press report earlier that Unilever has recalled some Lipton-brand milk tea powder products from Hong Kong and Macau store shelves after tests proved that these contained traces of the industrial chemical melamine.

The Associated Press reported that according to Unilever Hong Kong Ltd, "internal tests have found four batches of Lipton milk tea powder contaminated with melamine."

The company added that the recall has been done as a precautionary measure.

Authorities in Hong Kong, meanwhile, said they have yet to find melamine traces in Lipton products.

The company did not say if the affected products were made in mainland China. However, it was clear that these products were distributed in Hong Kong and Macau.

The recall followed last week's withdrawal of the Lipton Green Milk Tea brand from Taiwan stores because these have China-made milk as an ingredient.