3 weeks’ jail for man who ran unlicensed cold store, had cockroach-infested delivery vehicle

Tan Poh Gwee had pleaded guilty to the offence on March 1, 2023. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE – The director of a frozen products importer was sentenced on Wednesday to three weeks’ jail for storing seafood and meat products in an unlicensed cold store.

Tan Poh Gwee, who traded as Ed’s Frozen Enterprise, had pleaded guilty to the offence on March 1.

Singapore Food Agency (SFA) officers inspected the premises of Ed’s Frozen Enterprise in August 2021 and found more than 19,000kg of seafood and meat products in an unlicensed cold store, said the agency in a statement on Wednesday.

Live cockroaches were found in the faulty refrigerated compartment of a delivery vehicle during the inspection, added SFA, which seized the meat products.

The agency said cold stores for meat and seafood products can be operated only with a valid licence, and it conducts routine inspections of such cold stores.

The agency added that the illegal storage of meat and seafood in unlicensed facilities poses a food safety risk.

Mr Tan is also the former owner of Chong Qing (Origin) Steamboat in Beach Road, according to a report by Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News.

The restaurant made headlines in 2022 when a man slashed one of its employees repeatedly outside the eatery.

Singapore Food Agency officers found that Ed’s Frozen Enterprise had been storing over 19,000kg of meat and seafood products in an unlicensed cold store. PHOTO: SINGAPORE FOOD AGENCY

In another case on Wednesday, online retailer Aureo Asia was fined $6,000 for illegally importing and storing meat products for sale.

The retailer was found with 46kg of meat products without a valid permit during an inspection by SFA officers of its premises at 35 Tannery Road.

Subsequent investigations revealed that the retailer had illegally imported around 180kg of assorted meat products from Taiwan, including beef and chilli pork-flavoured instant noodles.

Aureo Asia was fined $6,000 after it was found to have stored 46kg of meat products without a valid permit. PHOTO: SINGAPORE FOOD AGENCY

In Singapore, food imports can be done only by licensed importers, and every consignment must be declared and accompanied by a valid import permit.

In addition, meat and related products can be imported only from accredited sources in approved countries that comply with Singapore’s food safety standards and requirements.

SFA said illegally imported foods from unknown sources can pose a safety risk.

Offenders found guilty of storing meat and seafood products in unlicensed cold stores for the purpose of selling or supplying can be fined up to $50,000 and imprisoned for up to two years.

Offenders who illegally import meat products from unapproved sources can be fined up to $50,000, jailed for up to two years, or both.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.