The Kueh Manufacturers vs Singapore Food Agency (SFA) saga continues.
In case you haven’t caught up, here is a timeline of the events.
Operations of 9 Kueh Manufacturers Suspended by SFA
- Tuesday (26 Jul): The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) suspends the operations of nine kueh manufacturers after sending their products for laboratory testing and detecting high amounts of food additives in them which are harmful in large quantities. The nine manufacturers were banned from making, distributing or selling kueh products until further notice.
- Wednesday (27 July): Upon receiving the suspension notice, one of the manufacturers, Jian Bo, sent their products for laboratory testing and managed to clear their name the following day by sending the negative test results from an accredited third-party lab. The results showed that their current production did not contain sorbic acid.
- Thursday (28 July): SFA revoked the suspension on Jian Bo, since “adequate measures have since been put in place, in compliance with Singapore Food Regulations”.
- Friday (29 July): SFA released a statement to explain the situation. It turns out that they had provided Jian Bo with wrong information about the amount the amount of sorbic acid allowed in their products initially. This was used explain the higher-than-permissible levels of the chemical detected in SFA’s own tests of Jian Bo’s product.
Miscommunication aside, this inconsistency in test results begs the question…where did SFA’s laboratory tests come from? And why did it detect any levels of sorbic acid when there was none in Jian Bo’s products?
4 More Kueh Manufacturers After They Provided Test Results of Current Products
Since then, four more Kueh manufacturers have come forth with their own test results which showed that their current production of Kuehs are free from benzoic acid or sorbic acid.
In a media statement released on Tuesday (2 August), SFA announced that they have received these test results from AMK Nonya Kueh, Lim Food Industries, Thomson Foodstuff Manufacturing, Delight Baker, and Tiong Bahru Tian Bo Shui Kueh. They also confirmed that these tests were conducted by accredited third-party laboratories.
Accordingly, SFA stated that they had lifted the ban on all 4 Kueh Manufacturers in compliance with Singapore food regulations.
The four manufacturers that currently remain on the banned list are Toh Chuan Kee Foodstuff, Chit Guan Foodstuff, Tongli Food Manufacturing and Sin Hwa Coconuts Industrial.
The Damage Has Been Done
Jian Bo, the first of the four manufacturers to have its suspension lifted has commented on the effects of SFA’s sudden ban.
When interviewed by TODAYonline, Jian Bo’s director, Mr Eric Ang, said that the SFA s announcement had tarnished the reputation of the brand.
“The damage is huge… It’s a reputation I have been trying to maintain [for Jian Bo], but within a day and that’s it, (gone).”
Their reputation was definitely valued, as Jian Bo had previously made it to the Michelin Guide Singapore’s Bib Gourmand 2021 list.
Mr Ang said that although he had yet to work out the financial impact of SFA’s decision, it was “definitely not going to be small”. Despite this, he stated that he had no plans to seek compensation from SFA.
Instead, he will be offering loyal customers with promotions to try and recover the business.
We can only hope that the other four manufacturers are able to do the same.
Following Jian Bo’s ban lift, SFA stated that it will review internal procedures to ensure that food safety requirements are communicated fully and accurately to food manufacturers.
They have yet to comment on the accuracy issues of their laboratory tests on food products which resulted in the wrongful ban of all five manufacturers.
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Featured Image: Facebook & Singapore Food Agency
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