Meat and fish importer fined for falsely labelling smoked duck as halal
A meat and fish importer and his company were fined on Monday for falsely labelling smoked duck as halal to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore’s (Muis) halal-certified food establishments.
Yocorn Food Enterprise and its director Wang Lijun were fined $35,000 and $20,000 respectively, Muis and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said in a joint statement. The licensed food importer had also sold a partial consignment of frozen fish products before inspection, examination and certification by the SFA.
In June 2019, Muis found a suspicious halal certificate for smoked duck supposedly issued by ARA Halal Certification Services Center, a halal certification body based in China.
The smoked duck was imported from China by its sole distributor, Yocorn. ARA told Muis that the halal certificate was false and was not issued by it.
When Muis officers visited Yocorn in August 2019, Wang claimed to be unaware of the false halal certificate. He agreed to stop representing its smoked ducks as halal and to remove all false halal logos from the packaging.
There was no subsequent purchase of smoked ducks from Yocorn by Muis’ halal certificate holders until June 2020. This time, a different ARA halal certificate was involved.
Muis did another verification with ARA, which confirmed that this halal certificate was also false and not issued by it.
Muis visited Yocorn again and instructed them to cease representing and selling its smoked ducks as halal.
In both instances, when the false halal certificates for smoked ducks were detected, Muis informed its halal certificate applicants to either dispose or return their stock of smoked ducks, and to source for alternative halal-certified products.
A similar memo regarding the false ARA halal certificates for imported smoked ducks was also issued to all its halal certificate holders, the statement added.
Muis reported the matter to the SFA on June 24, 2020.
On July 3, 2020, following the report, SFA found 4,455 packets of smoked ducks weighing 4,009.5kg with halal labels at Yocorn’s premises.
Wang had continued to sell non-halal smoked duck products as halal despite repeated instructions from Muis not to do so. In December 2021, SFA completed its investigation and charged Yocorn.
Every packet of meat, fish and seafood product must be clearly marked, with the date labelled to ensure traceability.
Those found guilty of an offence can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to a year, or both.
Every packet of meat, fish and seafood product must also be labelled in the same manner and must not be labelled with any information which is false, inaccurate or misleading.
Those found guilty of an offence can be fined up to $50,000 or jailed up to two years, or both.
A second or subsequent conviction can lead to a fine up to $100,000 or a jail term up to three years, or both.
Separately, on Feb 3, 2022, Yocorn had imported 692kg of frozen sliced smoked salmon trout from China and sold over 109kg of the consignment before inspection, examination and certification by the SFA.
In Singapore, upon import of meat and fish products, importers must arrange for these products to be inspected, examined and certified by an authorised examiner before it is sold, distributed or exported.
Meat and fish products which are found to be unfit for human consumption will be seized and disposed.
Those who fail to do so before sale or distribution can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to a year, or both.
Those who had sold their meat and fish consignments which had not been inspected are liable to a fine up to $50,000 or to a jail term up to two years, or both. Subsequent offenders can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to three years.