SINGAPORE: Nine local kueh manufacturers had their operations suspended due to the improper use of food additives, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said on Wednesday (Jul 27).
Production of various kueh products by these manufacturers was suspended on Tuesday until further notice after high levels of benzoic acid or sorbic acid were detected in their kueh and components such as dough, the agency said.
"Under the Singapore Food Regulations, the use of benzoic acid/sorbic acid is not allowed in kueh products, except for its filling, which should not exceed the maximum permissible limits."
The affected manufacturers are: AMK Nonya Kueh Pte Ltd, Chit Guan Foodstuff Pte Ltd, Delight Baker Pte Ltd, Lim Food Industries, Sin Hwa Coconuts Industrial Pte Ltd, Thomson Foodstuff Manufacturing, Tiong Bahru Tian Bo Shui Kueh Pte Ltd, Toh Chuan Kee Foodstuff Pte Ltd and Tongli Food Manufacturing.
Affected products include kueh lapis, yam cake, kueh salat, ang ku kueh, huat kueh, ondeh-ondeh, chwee kueh and soon kueh.
SFA said it had been closely monitoring local kueh manufactuers since the detection of benzoic acid in locally manufactured kueh products in March.
“In the interest of public health, SFA is taking enforcement actions against the implicated manufacturers and had suspended the production, distribution and sale of the implicated kueh products which were found to be (in) non-compliance with the Singapore Food Regulations.”
SFA has directed the manufacturers to recall the implicated kueh products as a precautionary measure, and the recall is ongoing.
The agency said that the “consumption of the affected products once or twice is not of food safety concern” based on the levels of the additives detected. However, it warned against the consumption of food with high levels of benzoic acid or sorbic acid over a long period of time.
“This is because even though benzoic acid and sorbic acids are common additives which are safe when used in small quantities, studies in animals fed with high doses of benzoic acid had shown disorder of the central nervous system as well as changes in their brains,” SFA said.
“Animals fed with high doses of sorbic acid had shown effects like reduced growth."
SFA advised those who have consumed the implicated products to seek medical advice if they have concerns about their health, adding that consumers can contact their points of purchase for enquiries.
“Food safety is a joint responsibility. While SFA puts in place and enforces the regulatory measures, food manufacturers should ensure that their products adhere to all the requirements in Singapore's food related laws,” SFA said.
“SFA will take enforcement action against food operators who do not adhere to these laws and would not hesitate to prosecute offenders in court.”