Chinese woman fined $12,000 for illegally importing nearly 180kg of food products

Mei Hua, a Chinese national, was fined $12,000 on Monday (May 8) for illegally bringing in various meat and processed food products into Singapore.

On Jan 27, 2022, officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) at the Pasir Panjang Scanning Station observed irregularities in the scanned images of an import container and proceeded to unstuff it.

They discovered a shipment of assorted meat that was imported without a valid permit and undeclared processed food products.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) was notified of the incident and initiated an investigation.

SFA's investigation found that Mei Hua had illegally imported 101.45kg of assorted meat products, including duck blood and pig blood, and 73.65kg of processed food products, such as pancakes and sunflower seeds.

The illegal consignments were seized and destroyed.

In Singapore, food imports must comply with SFA's requirements.

"Illegally imported food products of unknown sources can pose a food safety risk," SFA said in a joint statement with the ICA.

"Food can only be imported by licensed importers, and every consignment must be declared and accompanied with a valid import permit. Illegally imported food products are of unknown sources and poses food safety risk."

Meat and its products can only be imported from approved countries that follow Singapore's food safety criteria.

Those who violate this regulation by illegally importing meat products from unapproved sources are subject to a fine of up to $50,000 and/or jail of up to two years.

For subsequent offences, they may face a fine of up to $100,000 and/or jail of up to three years.

For illegally importing processed food, offenders may face a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum fine of $2,000 for subsequent convictions.

Safeguarding Singapore’s borders remains ICA’s top priority.

"ICA will continue to conduct security checks to detect and deter illegal importation attempts to keep Singapore safe," the statement said.

"SFA will continue to safeguard food safety through our integrated food safety system, which includes strict import regulations and enforcement, and work closely with border control agencies to deter illegal import across our borders."