SINGAPORE: Teh Kiap Kang, the sole proprietor of Viet-Sin Grocery, was recently fined S$36,000 (US$27,077) following legal action taken by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA).
The charges included the illegal operation of two unlicensed cold stores and the unlawful importation of meat and seafood products.
The court’s decision on Wednesday (20 Dec) highlighted the severity of these offences, as outlined in a media release by SFA.
The first discovery occurred on 26 April 2022, when SFA officers uncovered approximately 1,784kg of meat, processed meat, and seafood products in an unlicensed cold store at Gambas Crescent.
Subsequently, on 15 March 2023, another unlicensed facility at Woodlands Close was found to house 1,240kg of similar products, both operated by Viet-Sin Grocery.
Further compounding the violations, on 1 November 2023, SFA officers found approximately 37kg of assorted meat products at a grocery shop operated by Viet-Sin Grocery at Woodlands St 31.
Investigation results indicated that these products were imported from Vietnam without valid import licenses and were from sources not accredited by SFA.
Consequently, the confiscated products were seized by SFA.
The significance of these violations was underscored by SFA, emphasizing the serious food safety risks associated with the illegal storage of meat and seafood in unlicensed facilities.
According to SFA, cold stores must possess a valid license to operate, and the agency routinely conducts inspections to ensure compliance with hygiene standards, correct temperature settings, and other regulatory requirements at these licensed premises.
Singapore’s measures and severe penalties to safeguard food imports
In Singapore, ensuring food imports meet the Singapore Food Agency’s (SFA) requirements is crucial to maintaining food safety.
Illegally imported food products from unknown sources can pose significant risks to public health.
To regulate imports, only licensed importers are permitted to bring in food, and each consignment must be declared and accompanied by a valid import permit.
Additionally, strict guidelines dictate that meat and its products can only be imported from accredited sources in approved countries that comply with Singapore’s stringent food safety standards.
The consequences for violating these regulations are severe.
Individuals caught keeping meat or seafood in unlicensed cold stores for sale or supply could face fines of up to S$50,000 (US$37,608) and a potential jail term of up to two years.
Repeat offenders may encounter even harsher penalties, including fines of up to S$100,000 (US$75,216) and jail terms of up to three years.
Similarly, those found importing meat products illegally from unapproved sources or possessing such products for sale without a valid license may be subject to penalties.
For a first offence, fines of up to S$50,000 (US$37,608) and a jail term of up to two years may be imposed.
Subsequent offenses carry more severe consequences, with penalties escalating to a fine of up to S$100,000 (US$75,216) and a jail term of up to three years.
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