AVA: Soy sauce in Singapore is safe
Soya sauce here is safe to consume, says the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).
Consumers have been sharing the news that Hong Kong's Consumer Council had warned of a possible cancer-causing chemical in 11 soya sauce brands in the territory. At least two of them are available here.
The warning about soya sauce has been circulating in social media feeds, but in response to media queries, AVA said that all soya sauce brands available in Singapore meet its food safety standards.
The spokesman said: "All imported food, including soya sauce, is regularly sampled for food safety and compliance with AVA's standards and requirements.
"Food products that fail our inspection and laboratory tests will not be allowed for sale in Singapore."
South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong's Consumer Council had found the chemical compound 4-methylimidazole, which the World Health Organisation classifies as a potential human carcinogen.
Two Singapore companies, Kwong Cheong Thye and Tai Hua, were identified in the report, alongside brands like Konig, Yung Chun, Pearl River Bridge, Imperial Banquet and Yummy House.
Most of these are from China or Hong Kong.
The 4-Mei substance is a result of the permitted colouring agents to give characteristic dark colouration of various food products, including soya sauce.
According to a scientist quoted by SCMP, a lot needs to be taken before it becomes remotely harmful.
Wong Ka-hing, associate director at Polytechnic University's Food Safety and Technology Research Centre told SCMP that a man would need to consume at least three litres of soya sauce a day to reach the level required for cancer in the animal test.
When approached, executive director of Tai Hua Food Industries, Mr Pek Yipp Song, said that its products are manufactured in compliance with strict food regulations here. He said that all its products are safe.
The other brand, Kwong Cheong Thye, declined to comment.
Ms Grace Ng, 47, a housewife who regularly cooks her food with Tai Hua soya sauce, said she was reassured.
Ms Ng said: "The taste is a priority to me, not the infinitesimal chance of getting cancer."