Sale curbs lifted on alcoholic food

Last April, FairPrice restricted the sale of Udders ice cream with alcohol content exceeding 0.5 per cent to comply with the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act.
Last April, FairPrice restricted the sale of Udders ice cream with alcohol content exceeding 0.5 per cent to comply with the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Non-beverage items with alcohol can be sold at all hours from today

Craving for a tub of rum-and-raisin ice cream at midnight?

From today, it will be legal to buy such non-beverage products containing alcohol from stores regardless of the hour, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) yesterday.

This comes after the ministry reviewed the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act.

The Act was put in place in 2015 to restrict the sale hours of liquor at retail outlets and consumption of liquor in public places, applying to all products containing more than 0.5 per cent alcohol, whether food or beverages.

Under the Act, such products cannot be sold from 10.30pm to 7am.

The consumption of liquor in public places is also banned from 10.30pm to 7am, to minimise public disorder.

MHA, however, said yesterday that it will be exempting all non-beverage food products from the licensing requirements of the Act from today.

Beverages will continue to be regulated, given the significantly higher risk of abuse, said the ministry.

With this change, all non-beverage food products containing alcohol can be sold and consumed after 10.30pm in public places.

The decision, made in consultation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, came after feedback from the public and industry stakeholders that certain products containing alcohol need not be regulated under the Act as consumers were unlikely to abuse them.

 

University student Christopher Kee, 24, said: "I think it's great that the regulation has changed.

"Quite honestly, I didn't understand why such products had to be strictly monitored.

"If your goal is to get drunk off alcoholic ice cream, you'll probably get sick from all the dairy before you even feel buzzed."

In April last year, supermarket chain FairPrice restricted the sale of Udders ice cream with alcohol content that exceeded 0.5 per cent to comply with the Act.

Four flavours - Rum Rum Raisin (3.9 per cent alcohol), Tira-miss-u (3.8 per cent alcohol), Wineberries (3.5 per cent alcohol) and Orange Liqueur Dark Choc (2.7 per cent alcohol) - were restricted at the time.

MHA later said in October that it was looking into exempting the sale of such products, where there is little or a low likelihood of alcohol abuse.

Yesterday, MHA said it would work with the police to monitor the situation, and periodically review and update the legislation as required.

Udders told The Straits Times that it was very happy with the move.

A company spokesman said: "We thank the Government for taking a pro-business approach to this decision. With this change in law, we hope sales at FairPrice Finest and especially Cheers convenience stores, many of which are open 24 hours, will increase."

FairPrice director of fresh products Peter Teo said that the supermarket chain welcomes the latest update to the Act. 

"This means we no longer need to restrict sales of certain types of products like ice cream that contain alcohol content," Mr Teo said.

He added that while FairPrice expects sales for these products to go up, the extent to which it will improve remains to be seen as the exemption has yet to be in place.
 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2019, with the headline 'Sale curbs lifted on alcoholic food'. Print Edition | Subscribe