A CCTV report about an illegal syndicate in Zhejiang, which collected used oil in sewers and recycled them as good cooking oil for sale in 14 Chinese provinces read like an April Fool’s joke, but it wasn’t. It was sickening: the extent of human greed and lack of scruple, at the expense of consumers’ wellbeing, was incredible. Who knows we may be victims who had eaten in the affected province in China?
Besides housing, MND is also responsible for food security and food safety, through its AVA. We take this mission seriously.
AVA was put to the test after the recent Fukushima nuclear incident, with radioactive contamination in food produced in that part of Japan. Prompt and professional handling by AVA colleagues assures Singaporeans that we are not exposed to radioactive particle-contaminated food.
As Singapore imports more than 90% of our food, AVA is regularly tested. From mad-cow disease, Nipah virus in pigs, bird flu to melamine-tainted food, AVA colleagues know that they can never let their guard down.
And it is not just the high-profile events. The daily inspections and testing of food for various food-borne hazards such as pesticide residues and harmful organisms are daily routine activities for AVA.
With globalisation of food trade and the increased demand for food as the world population grows, the challenge of ensuring food is safe, besides being abundant, has taken centre stage.
Indeed, the subject of food being healthy, is adding a third dimension.
For example, should we prohibit trans fat? A short answer is “yes”. The issue is: are there healthier alternatives? I carry this subject from MOH to MND, an unfinished business which I intend to finish it up while here, in consultation with MOH.
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