Checks in place, but others have part to play in food safety

We thank Mr Ang Hak Heng for his letter (How to ensure quality of eggs?; Forum Online, Feb 18) following the case of maggots that were found on shell eggs sold at a local supermarket.

Singapore's egg supply comes from local and overseas egg farms that are accredited by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA).

Hen eggs are individually labelled with a code to identify the producing farm. AVA regularly takes samples and conducts food safety and egg freshness tests on imported and locally produced eggs.

In general, eggs are not required to be labelled with an expiry date, unless producers require the eggs to be refrigerated to maintain or prolong their shelf life.

However, producers of eggs may voluntarily date mark the eggs or egg packaging. For instance, local hen and quail farms have included expiry dates on the consumer packaging for their eggs.

As with all food products, food can become unsafe to consume if not stored or handled properly. While AVA continues to be vigilant and ensure that regulatory measures for food (imported and locally produced) are in place and properly enforced, the food industry and consumers must also play their part.

The food industry is encouraged to adopt in-house food safety assurance programmes.

Distributors and retailers of eggs are advised to keep them in cool conditions during storage and at their retail outlets. They should exercise care and hygienic practices in handling shell eggs along the distribution chain.

Consumers can ensure food safety by adopting good food safety practices.

Eggs should be purchased from established and reliable retail stores. Consumers should check the eggs for cracks or any signs of spoilage before purchase or use. Keeping the eggs in the refrigerator will also help to keep the eggs fresh longer.

For more information on food safety, consumers can visit our website - bility

Choo Li Nah (Dr)
Group Director, Communications & Corporate Relations Group
Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2018, with the headline 'Checks in place, but others have part to play in food safety'. Subscribe