SINGAPORE - The authorities fined a woman $6,000 on Monday (Oct 29) for smuggling 330 embryonated quail eggs into Singapore.
Officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) caught 29-year-old Tran Thi Bao Trang trying to smuggle the eggs as checked-in baggage at Changi Airport on Oct 17.
The eggs were in a carton box lined with plastic egg trays, and were later found to contain developing quail embryos during investigations by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).
In a joint statement on Monday, AVA and ICA said that meat, eggs, and their products can only be imported from accredited sources in approved countries that comply with Singapore's food safety standards and requirements.
Tran had contravened rules for importing quail eggs from non-approved sources, it added.
Those found guilty of importing food products from unapproved sources for the first time can be fined up to $50,000, jailed up to two years, or both.
In subsequent convictions, the offender can be fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed up to three years.
The statement said that AVA has to remain vigilant to prevent diseases such as bird flu from being introduced into Singapore through products from unknown sources.
"While Singapore is free from bird flu, the disease is endemic in the region. Illegally imported food products, which may not have undergone the necessary heat treatment to inactivate the virus, are a risk for public and animal health," the statement added.
The authorities also reminded travellers against bringing food products into Singapore without a proper licence.
More information can be found at AVA's website or its free mobile app, SG TravelKaki.
Earlier on Oct 3, a 63-year-old woman was fined $7,000 for illegally importing 490 duck eggs that contained developing embryos into Singapore. The woman bought the eggs, commonly known as balut, from a wet market in Vietnam.