Kueh products, cake and mixed fruit recalled over improper or undeclared use of additives

Soon En-Rei
The Straits Times
July 27, 2022

Kueh products from nine local manufacturers, as well as the "Best One" Assorted Cake (banana flavour) and Bake King's mixed fruit packs, have been recalled due to improper or undeclared use of additives in these products.

The recall affects products such as kueh lapis, tapioca kueh and ondeh ondeh from Toh Chuan Kee Foodstuff, Tongli Food Manufacturing, AMK Nonya Kueh, Chit Guan Foodstuff, Delight Baker, Thomson Foodstuff Manufacturing, Sin Hwa Coconuts Industrial, Tiong Bahru Tian Bo Shui Kueh and Lim Food Industries.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has suspended the production, distribution and sale of the implicated kueh products by these manufacturers from July 26 till further notice.

These kueh products contain high levels of benzoic acid and sorbic acid, which can be used only in the filling of kueh products and should not exceed permissible limits.

Among the nine suspended kueh manufacturers is Tiong Bahru Tian Bo Shui Kueh, which produces the popular Jian Bo rice cakes and has stores operating under the brand name Jian Bo Shui Kueh in hawker centres, food courts and shopping malls.

Jian Bo’s customers who spoke to The Straits Times say they are not worried about eating its products. 

Regional account director Raymond Ong said: “I am in the chemical industry, so I understand that preservatives are commonly used in most foods.”

The 40-year-old purchases the brand’s products about once every two weeks, from the Seletar Mall and Compass One outlets.

Another loyal customer is Mr Boo, an Indonesian who visits Singapore three to four times a year. He usually patronises the brand’s Tiong Bahru outlet when he visits Singapore for holidays. 

Mr Boo said: “If there were any side effects, they would have shown a long time ago, but I still feel good, and nothing has happened.” 

The last time he purchased the brand’s products was in pre-pandemic times.

The 33-year-old food reviewer and food photographer, who declined to give his full name, added: “I feel so sad to hear that they have been suspended. Jian Bo Shui Kueh is a legend in the Singapore culinary scene.” 

The SFA also found sorbic acid in the "Best One" Assorted Cake (banana flavour) that exceeded the maximum limit as stated in the Singapore Food Regulations, and sulphur dioxide, an undeclared allergen, in Bake King's mixed fruits.

While benzoic acid and sorbic acids are common additives which are safe when used in small quantities, the SFA said studies in animals fed with high doses of benzoic acid had shown damage to their central nervous systems as well as changes in their brains. Animals fed with high doses of sorbic acid had shown effects such as reduced growth.

Also, excessive levels of sulphur dioxide in food could result in allergic reactions in people hypersensitive to sulphite. Symptoms include hives, itchiness, stomachaches, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Consumers who have consumed the implicated products and have concerns about their health should seek medical advice, the SFA said.

The Straits Times

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