The supply and sale of seed-growing kits known as “crystal balls” and other similar items is prohibited from Friday.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Thursday that importers, sellers and others defying the ban could be fined RM100,000 under the Consumer Protection Act. He said the Government decided on the ban after receiving reports from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital of several cases of major surgery involving children aged one to five who were believed to have swallowed the “crystal balls.”
The colourful seed-growing kit, also known by various other names such as Jelly Ball, Crystal Jelly, Baby Jelly, Baby Crystal and Crystal Soil, is used to facilitate the growth of a plant or as a decoration in a pot, he told reporters here.
Ismail Sabri said that seven surgeries had been performed at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital involving children who swallowed crystal balls, the latest being a 12-month-old infant who underwent an operation on Tuesday.
He said children who swallowed the seed-growing kits could experience symptoms such as vomiting, constipation, bloating of the stomach, abdominal pains, bowel obstructions and intestinal leakage.
“Looking at the crystal ball, it is easy to understand why children may think that it can be eaten. The original size of the ball is less than 0.5cm. When put in water, the jelly rubber ball can expand five to six times its original size,” he said.
He added that Poland and Italy had banned the crystal balls last year. – Bernama