SFA suspends 9 local kueh manufacturers over improper use of additives

Close-up of a plate of assorted nonya kueh served on a plate.
Close-up of a plate of assorted nonya kueh served on a plate. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include a generic cover photo of kuehs instead of an earlier photo bearing the "HarriAnns" brand name. HarriAnns is not one of the 9 local kueh manufacturers suspended by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) for improper use of additives. We apologise to HarriAnn’s Pte Ltd for the error.

SINGAPORE — Nine kueh manufacturers in Singapore were ordered by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) to suspend the production of various kueh products over their improper use of food additives.

In a media statement, SFA said benzoic acid/sorbic acid was detected at high levels in the kueh and components (for example, dough) of kueh made by the errant manufacturers: 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.

SFA said the use of benzoic acid/sorbic acid is not allowed in kueh products except for its filling, which should not exceed the maximum permissible limits.

"In the interest of public health, SFA is taking enforcement actions against the implicated manufacturers and had suspended the production, distribution, and sale of the implicated kueh products which were found to be non-compliance with the Singapore Food Regulations."

SFA also directed the manufacturers to recall the implicated products and the recall is ongoing.

"Based on the levels detected, consumption of the affected products once or twice is not of food safety concern," said SFA.

However, consumers should not eat food with high levels of benzoic acid/sorbic acid over a prolonged period as animals fed with high doses of the additive have been shown to develop disorder of the central nervous system, changes in the brain and reduced growth.

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

SFA warned food manufacturers to follow regulations and ensure that only permitted food additives within permissible levels are used, adding that it will take enforcement action against errant food operators or initiate prosecution if necessary.

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