FairPrice halts Aussie strawberry imports

Supermarket chain FairPrice stopped all strawberry imports from Australia on Monday, in the light of alleged incidents Down Under where consumers found needles in the fruit.

Another supermarket chain in Singapore, Sheng Siong, has requested that its suppliers use metal detectors to check each punnet of strawberries.

Meanwhile, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said it is in contact with the Australian authorities on the issue, and is monitoring the situation closely.

Its spokesman said yesterday: "The Australian authorities have implemented interim export control measures. Since Sept 19, exporters have been required to provide assurance that their exports are free from metal contaminants in order for export permits to be approved."

Examples of measures to ensure this are metal detection and X-ray screening, she added.

FairPrice said its move to halt the imports is a precautionary measure as the authorities here have not issued any recall of strawberries from Australia.

"Australian strawberries from previous batches of imports remain available on our shelves but will not be replenished when they are sold out," said its spokesman.

 
 

She said that strawberry sales have slowed by about 10 per cent since reports of sabotaged strawberries surfaced. She added that FairPrice also sources its strawberries from other countries.

Giant and Cold Storage are understood to have stopped bringing in strawberries from Australia since the end of last week, and are getting the fruit from the United States and South Africa instead.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2018, with the headline 'FairPrice halts Aussie strawberry imports'. Print Edition | Subscribe