Four companies have been fined in Singapore in the past month for illegally importing food products.

All of the firms had penalties set in court. In October, CCL Impex Pte Ltd. was fined S$3,600 (U.S. $2,700) for illegally importing fresh fruits, vegetables and processed food for sale.

In September 2019, officers from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) detected 387.5 kilograms of undeclared and under-declared fresh fruits and vegetables and about 506.7 kilograms of processed food in the consignments imported from Malaysia.

Problems importing fresh meat, fruit and vegetables
Ibrahim Bin Jantan, licensee of Sinar Bahgia, was fined S$9,400 (U.S. $7,000) in mid-October this year for illegally importing fresh fruits, meat products, processed food and mineral water.

Between September 2019 and January this year, SFA staff detected 645 kilograms of undeclared processed food, almost 148 liters of undeclared mineral water, 258 kilograms of undeclared meat products and 175 kilograms of under-declared and undeclared fresh fruits in consignments imported from Indonesia.

Earlier this month, GH Enterprise Pte Ltd. was fined S$6,000 (U.S. $4,500) for illegally importing fresh vegetables for sale. In January SFA officials detected 150 kilograms of undeclared fresh vegetables in consignments imported from Malaysia.

Illegally imported vegetables can pose a food safety risk if unregulated or a high level of pesticides are used. In Singapore, food can only be imported by licensed firms, and every consignment must be declared and accompanied with a valid import permit. Those who illegally import fresh fruits and vegetables are liable on conviction to a maximum fine of S$10,000 (U.S. $7,400) and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

Yong Yew Hin, sole-proprietor of Yong Thor Sat Trading Co., was fined S$25,000 (U.S. $18,700) in October this year for the illegal import of meat products.

In October 2019, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at Pasir Panjang Scanning Station detected anomalies in the scanned images of a 40- foot container from China. After further checks, ICA officers uncovered 101 cartons of illegally imported meat products. The case was referred to the SFA for investigation.

SFA’s enquiries found more than two tons of meat, including cured pork ham, duck gizzards, waxed chicken and duck and various canned sausages, were imported illegally.

Offenders who bring in meat products illegally from unapproved sources are liable for a fine of S$50,000 (U.S. $37,300) and/or imprisonment of up to two years.

Operation of unlicensed sites
Singapore currently imports about 90 percent of its food from 170 countries and regions. In late October, two other firms handling meat were penalized for illegal operation of sites.

ILTM Tampines Pte Ltd., a company licensed to sell takeaway foods, was fined S$2,000 (U.S. $1,500) for operating an unlicensed meat processing establishment and for unauthorized disposal of meat that had been sealed by the SFA.

In November 2019, SFA staff found the firm had been thawing and marinating chicken meat in premises not licensed as a meat processing plant. A total of 78 packets and one tub of raw chicken thighs were sealed by SFA and detained in the company’s chiller. ILTM Tampines Pte disposed of these items before investigations were completed, despite being told not to do so without SFA’s approval.

Offenders who illegally process and store meat products shall be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of S$10,000 (U.S. $7,400) and/or imprisonment for up to one year. Those who tamper with, remove, distribute, sell, or otherwise dispose of any item seized or detained by SFA during an investigation face on conviction a maximum fine of S$10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.

Cent to Dollar Pte Ltd., an operator of minimarts, convenience stores and provision shops, was fined S$2,000 (U.S. $1,500), for operating an unlicensed cold store.

In March this year, officials from the SFA found that the business had been storing meat products in chest freezers in premises that were not licensed as a cold store. About 147 kilograms of assorted sliced beef cuts were seized by SFA.

Those who illegally store meat products are liable on conviction to a maximum fine of S$10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)