SFA recalls batches of satay seasoning with toxin that causes cancer, birth defects

Instant Satay Spices by home-grown manufacturer Li Kwong Agencies Co was found to contain aflatoxins exceeding permitted levels.
Instant Satay Spices by home-grown manufacturer Li Kwong Agencies Co was found to contain aflatoxins exceeding permitted levels.PHOTO: SINGAPORE FOOD AGENCY

SINGAPORE - A satay seasoning product has been recalled after high levels of a cancer-causing toxin were detected in it, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) announced on Monday (March 15).

Instant Satay Spices by home-grown manufacturer Li Kwong Agencies Co was found to contain aflatoxins exceeding permitted levels.

SFA has directed the manufacturer to recall all batches of the product that bear the expiry date of Jan 19, 2022, and are sold in 50g and 500g packets.

Besides causing cancer, aflatoxins can also lead to birth defects or mutations, and exposure through food should be kept as low as possible, said SFA.

The toxin can occur in foods such as peanuts - an ingredient in Instant Satay Spices - as a result of fungal contamination before and after harvest.

"As the manufacturer also processes other peanut products, SFA is conducting further investigations and stepping up checks on its products," it added.

Customers who have bought the implicated product are advised to not consume it.

They can also contact the store they purchased the product at for enquiries.

Customers who have consumed it and have concerns about their health should seek medical advice, SFA said.

Those affected may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite and abdominal pain, added family physician Leong Choon Kit from Mission Medical Clinic.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a spokesperson from Li Kwong Agencies Co said that SFA had approached the company to test their peanut products at the start of March and they were informed of the results on March 13.

The company added that aflatoxin-causing fungi might have grown on the company’s raw peanuts due to warm and humid conditions present during transportation of the cargo to Singapore.

“The high levels of aflatoxins could be due to the delay in shipping,” said the spokesperson.

Moving forward, the food manufacturer is working closely with SFA and intends to conduct more stringent tests and checks on its products.

Customers who have the affected batch of products can contact Li Kwong Agencies Co directly and arrange for a refund when they return the affected product.