Are food safety checks robust enough?

I commend the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) for taking swift action to recall the rockmelons infected by the listeria virus, and to check the remaining ones (Australian rockmelons from listeria-linked source recalled; March 6).

I am very concerned that these melons were sold in Sheng Siong supermarkets and wet markets.

This is where a majority of lower-and middle-income consumers in Singapore buy their food.

I have written and spoken to AVA representatives about food safety issues. The standard reply given is that the current regime of random checks and strict sanctions is sufficient.

But this recent outbreak proves that this may not be so.

What percentage of melons and produce in general from Australia is checked by the AVA?

Is the frequency of checks affected by the perception that the food is from a developed Western country with a seemingly robust food safety regime for exports?

Ivy Singh (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2018, with the headline 'Are food safety checks robust enough?'. Print Edition | Subscribe