Irvins salted egg fish snack with dead lizard made at Singapore facility that closed in November: AVA

In a statement on Feb 11, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said that it has completed investigations into the Singapore-based food company, after a Bangkok customer found a dead lizard coated with salted egg in a packet of the popular snack.
In a statement on Feb 11, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority said that it has completed investigations into the Singapore-based food company, after a Bangkok customer found a dead lizard coated with salted egg in a packet of the popular snack.PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/JANE HOLLOWAY

SINGAPORE - The packet of salted egg fish skin snack that contained a dead lizard was manufactured at Irvins Salted Egg's previous premises, which ceased operations in November last year, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said.

That facility is understood to be located in Admiralty Street.

In a statement on Monday (Feb 11), the AVA said that it had completed investigations into the Singapore-based food company, after a Bangkok customer found a dead lizard coated with salted egg in a packet of the popular snack in December.

The AVA said that it had since inspected Irvins' current premises and told the company to improve its quality control checks.

Quality control checks include conducting regular refresher training for quality control operators, sourcing ingredients from reputable suppliers and conducting regular audits.

"Irvins has made improvements in these areas, as well as stepped up inspections on the production line," the AVA said.

The authority added that it will continue to do periodic audits and enforcement checks on the company.

 
 
 

The Straits Times understands that no further action will be taken against the company, whose new production facility is at JTC Food Hub in Senoko Drive.

In response to queries, Irvins Salted Egg founder Irvin Gunawan said that food safety and quality is the company's "foremost priority on which (they) will never compromise". 

"I would like to thank customers who have continued to trust and support us," he said.

Irvins Salted Egg, which has at least 13 outlets in Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines, manufactures all its products in Singapore.

Locals and tourists often stand in line to snap up its products, which come with a "dangerously addictive" label on its packaging.

In a Facebook post on Dec 29 last year, Ms Jane Holloway, 38, said that her mother and brother had eaten half the bag of Irvins Salted Egg Fish Skin before they discovered the dead reptile.

Ms Holloway, who lives in Bangkok, told ST that she bought the product in early November from international supermarket Villa Market at K Village in the Khlong Toei district.

Her Facebook post quickly went viral, with many netizens calling on the Singapore authorities to take action in response to the case.

Mr Gunawan later said that customers who bought salted egg snacks expiring on Oct 16 this year or those who were uncomfortable eating them could request for a refund.

The AVA urged food manufacturers to be responsible in complying with food safety standards or requirements as well as maintaining robust food safety management systems, even as it continued to carry out periodic checks.

Consumers should also adhere to good food safety practices, the AVA said in its statement.

Some good food safety guidelines for consumers include the following:

- Examine packaged food carefully. Do not buy if the packaging is damaged or open as it may contain harmful micro-organisms that could cause food poisoning.

- Keep foodstuff - such as coffee, tea, powdered milk and biscuits - in clean, air-tight containers, away from heat and moisture.

- Inspect food regularly for insect infestation, mould, and other signs of spoilage. Discard when necessary.

- Check food storage cupboards regularly to ensure that they are free from insect infestation or contamination.

- Keep cupboards meant for food storage uncluttered and clean.