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09/10/17: Import of instant hotpot products containing meat not approved by AVA

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The popular instant hotpot brand Ba Shu Lan Ren, which comes in three mala flavours: original, rice and meat, and beef.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has fined importers of the latest food craze here – instant “self-heating” hotpots that contain meat.

It has also seized the products, the agency said in a statement to The Straits Times on Monday (Oct 9).

“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.”

Ba Shu Hotpot is otherwise known as Ba Shu Lan Ren, a Chengdu-based instant hotpot brand that comes in several mala flavours: original, rice and meat, and beef.

It is one of several instant hotpot brands being sold online on websites such as Qoo10 and Shopee Singapore.

The products come with a heat pack that, when activated by room-temperature water, generates enough heat to steam a small bowl of ingredients for up to 20 minutes.

In its statement, AVA advised the public to purchase food from reputable sources, and to exercise discretion when buying food online.

“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,” it said.

“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.”

Ba Shu Lan Ren, which launched its hotpots last December, told The Straits Times in July that it has six main suppliers in Singapore.

AVA added that it conducts inspections and surveillance, including sampling for testing, on imported food products to ensure they comply with the necessary requirements and standards.

Those convicted of importing food from unapproved sources can be fined up to $50,000 and/or jailed for up to two years for the first conviction.

In the case of a second or subsequent conviction, they can be fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed for up to three years.


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