More than 1.6 tonnes of vegetables were seized by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) after being imported from Malaysia illegally.
In a joint statement on Friday, the agency and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said that they conducted an operation on Wednesday and Thursday, targeting vegetable delivery trucks which usually transport fresh and processed vegetables intended for direct distribution to retailers and customers.
Two trucks were stopped by ICA officers at Woodlands Checkpoint and referred to SFA for checks.
SFA then found more than 1.6 tonnes of undeclared and under-declared produce such as kai lan, spring onion, pandan leaves, red chilli, carrots, tomatoes, long beans and Beijing cabbage brought in by two importers, who were not named in the statement.
All the illegally imported vegetables were seized.
SFA is following up with further investigations and will not hesitate to take enforcement action, the statement said.
In Singapore, food imports must meet SFA’s requirements. Fruit and vegetables can be imported only by licensed importers, and every consignment must be declared and accompanied by a valid import permit.
Vegetables imported illegally are of unknown origin and can pose a food safety risk – for example, if unregulated or a high level of pesticides are used, said the agency.
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, it added.
Offenders who import fresh fruit and vegetables illegally may be liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.
Source: The Star