Food importer and partner of another firm fined $8.5k for illegally importing 600kg of vegetables from Malaysia

Food importer Sunrise Vegetable was fined $1,200 on Thursday (Feb 23) for illegally importing processed vegetables for sale.

Sim Chai Kang, who is a partner of Bao Kang Enterprise and holds a licence to import vegetables, was fined for illegally importing fresh vegetables for sale.

On Apr 26, a truck carrying food produce consigned to Sunrise Vegetable and Bao Kang Enerprise was stopped and referred for checks during a joint operation conducted by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) at Woodlands checkpoint.

The truck was then referred to SFA for follow-up inspection.

SFA said in a joint statement with ICA that its investigation found that Sunrise Vegetable illegally imported 193kg of processed vegetables and Bao Kang Enterprise illegally imported approximately 407kg of fresh vegetables.

These consignments from Malaysia were seized.

"In Singapore, food imports must meet SFA's requirements," SFA said.

"Fruits and vegetables can only be imported by licensed importers and 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.

"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."

Offenders who illegally import fresh fruit and vegetables can be fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to three years.

Those who illegally import processed fruits and vegetables can be fined up to $1,000. Repeat offenders can face a fine of up to $2,000.

"Safeguarding Singapore’s borders remains top priority for ICA," the statement said.

"ICA will continue to conduct security checks to detect and deter illegal importation attempts so as to keep Singapore safe. 

"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."