Forum: Food packed in gravy need not display drained weight

We refer to Mr Goh Eng Chai's letter, "Display drained weight of abalone alone" (Jan 28).

The Singapore Food Regulations stipulate that all pre-packed food for sale in Singapore must be labelled with the name of food, ingredients, net quantity of the food and source. In addition, food packed in a liquid medium must be labelled with both "net weight" and "drained weight".

Liquid medium refers to water, aqueous solutions of sugar and salt, fruit and vegetable juices in canned fruits and vegetables, or vinegar, either singly or in combination.

Food products which require the declaration of drained weight on the label include canned seafood in brine (for example, abalone and Pacific clams) and canned vegetables in brine (such as mushrooms, whole corn kernels), as the liquid packing medium is usually drained away before the product is consumed.

However, declaration of "drained weight" is not required for food products packed in gravy or sauces (such as canned abalone with gravy, shark's fin soup, baked beans in tomato sauce) as the gravy or sauces are intended to be consumed with the food as a dish.

Those who contravene the food regulations are guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000, and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding $2,000.

It is the responsibility of food manufacturers and importers to ensure that their food products meet our food safety standards and requirements, including labelling requirements under the Singapore Food Regulations.

We advise consumers to buy food products from established retailers and to exercise discretion when choosing food products based on the information provided on the label. They should also seek clarification from the importer or retailer before the purchase.

Members of the public who come across food labelling issues should report them to SFA via www.sfa.gov.sg/feedback

Astrid Yeo (Dr)

Regulatory Standards and Veterinary office

Singapore Food Agency

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