SINGAPORE: An importer of food products and its director were fined on Thursday (Apr 14) for illegally importing fresh vegetables for sale.
TSYT, an importer of food products, was fined S$4,250, said the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in a joint media release.
The company's director, Lee Yew Lim, was also fined the same amount for failing to "prevent the offence from being committed".
In a joint operation conducted by ICA and SFA, ICA officers detained a truck carrying food produce consigned to TSYT at Woodlands Command.
"The case was then referred to SFA for follow-up investigation."
SFA's investigations found that TSYT illegally imported about 436.2kg of undeclared and under-declared fresh vegetables in the consignment imported from Malaysia, said the authorities.
"The illegal consignments were seized," they added.
In Singapore, food imports must meet SFA's requirements and can only be imported by licensed importers, said the authorities, adding that every consignment must be declared and accompanied with a valid import permit.
Illegally imported vegetables are of unknown sources and can pose a food safety risk, for example, if unregulated or high levels of pesticides were used, they said.
"The long-term ingestion of excessive pesticide residues through the consumption of vegetables that have been subjected to pesticide abuse could lead to adverse health effects," said ICA and SFA.
Offenders who illegally import fresh fruits and vegetables may be liable to a maximum fine of S$10,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both.
"Safeguarding Singapore’s borders remains top priority for ICA. Similar methods may also be used by terrorists to smuggle security items into Singapore.
"ICA will continue to conduct security checks to detect and deter illegal importation attempts so as to keep Singapore safe," said the authorities.
They added that SFA will continue to safeguard food safety through its integrated food safety system, which includes strict import regulations and enforcement.
SFA will also continue to work closely with border control agencies to deter illegal imports across Singapore's borders, the authorities said.