Update to media release issued on 27 Jul 2022:
Updated on 02 Aug 2022: Five of the nine implicated kueh manufacturers have provided test results (conducted by accredited third party laboratories), which showed that their current production is free from benzoic acid/sorbic acid. Based on the results given, SFA lifted the suspension of the five kueh manufacturers as adequate measures have since been put in place, in compliance with the Singapore Food Regulations.
The five manufacturers are:
1) Tiong Bahru Tian Bo Shui Kueh Pte Ltd
2) Thomson Foodstuff Manufacturing
3) Delight Baker Pte Ltd
4) AMK Nonya Kueh Pte Ltd
5) Lim Food Industries
SFA’s original media release
Suspension of 9 local kueh manufacturers’ operations for improper usage of food additives
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) suspended the production of various kueh products by 9* local kueh manufacturers due to the improper use of food additives. The suspension takes effect from 26 July 2022, until further notice.
2 Under the Singapore Food Regulations, 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. Since the detection of benzoic acid in locally manufactured kueh products in Mar 2022 (https://go.gov.sg/kuehproducts10mar) SFA has been closely monitoring local kueh manufacturers. Benzoic acid/sorbic acid was detected at high levels in the kueh and components (e.g. dough) of kueh, manufactured by 9 kueh manufacturers.
3 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. Food manufacturers should adhere to the Singapore Food Regulations and ensure that only permitted food additives within the permissible levels are used. As a precautionary measure, SFA has also directed the kueh manufacturers to recall the implicated kueh products. The recall is ongoing.
4 Based on the levels detected, consumption of the affected products once or twice is not of food safety concern. Consumers should not consume food containing high levels of benzoic acid/sorbic acid over a long period of time. This is because even though benzoic acid and sorbic acids are common additives which are safe when used in small quantities, studies in animals fed with high doses of benzoic acid had shown disorder of the central nervous system as well as changes in their brains. Animals fed with high doses of sorbic acid had shown effects like reduced growth. Consumers who have consumed the implicated products and have concerns about their health should seek medical advice. Consumers may contact their point of purchase for enquiries.
5 Food safety is a joint responsibility. While SFA puts in place and enforces the regulatory measures, food manufacturers should ensure that their products adhere to all the requirements in Singapore’s food related laws. SFA will take enforcement action against food operators who do not adhere to these laws and would not hesitate to prosecute offenders in Court.