Self-heating hotpots containing meat have been seized by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) on Monday, October 9. The importers of these products have also been fined and warned.
The AVA said in a statement to the Straits Times that the latest craze of such hotpots is harmful and the products have not been approved.
"AVA has not approved the import of instant hotpot products containing meat such as Ba Shu Hotpot," the statement added. "As AVA did not approve these products for sale, the 'AVA certificate' circulating online is fake."
The Ba Shu or Ba Shu Lan Ren hotpot, produced by a company from Chengdu, comes in flavours like original, beef, and rice and meat. They are equipped with a heat pack which steams up the ingredients for as long as 20 minutes when water is added to it. These products are sold on online websites such as Shopee Singapore and Qoo10.
The AVA statement advised people not to buy such food items, especially online, because they have become a trend. Instead, it encouraged the public to buy food from reliable brands and sources.
"Food products containing meat can be imported from only approved sources that comply with AVA food-safety standards and requirements, as these products could carry animal and food-borne diseases of public health and trade importance. Licensed food importers are required to ensure that the food products comply with the AVA's food-safety requirements and standards, regardless of the channel of sale," according to the AVA.
The popularity of the hotpots is quite a lot; 10000 of them were sold in the month of May. Now, AVA is conducting inspection and testing on samples to determine their safety for consumption.
The warning from the agency states that anyone convicted of importing food from unapproved sources can be fined up to S$50,000 and jailed for two years. A second such offence will ensure S$100,000 fine and a three-year jail time.