THE Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has said that Singapore does not import any salted and century eggs from Malaysia. It was responding to queries following a report by Malaysian newspaper the New Straits Times on Sunday, which said that tests done on samples of these eggs by the Malaysian Association of Standards Users had revealed high levels of a banned red dye in them. The dye, called Sudan I, is a suspected carcinogen mainly used to colour waxes, oils and solvents. It cannot be used in food products.
A spokesman for the AVA told The Straits Times yesterday that salted and century eggs sold here are imported only from China, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan. She added that these eggs are also regularly tested for dye, and shipments found to be contaminated with the dye are rejected and destroyed. The FairPrice and Sheng Siong supermarket chains said that their century and salted eggs are not imported from Malaysia.
Of the six egg distributors The Straits Times spoke to, three do not import century and salted eggs while the other three have said that their century and salted eggs are from China or Vietnam. Mr Tan Lau Huah, 64, owner of Chuan Seng Huat Egg Store, said in Mandarin: “Century eggs from China are cheaper and salted eggs from Vietnam are tastier.”
Dr Ho Kok Sun, a general surgeon from Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, said that while carcinogenic food can cause cancer, it depends on the amount consumed and a person’s genetics. “Cigarette smoke is carcinogenic, but not everyone who smokes gets cancer,” he said.
While the century and salted eggs in Singapore are safe to eat, not all consumers are buying them. Housewife Ng Choo Huat, 51, said in Mandarin: “I believe they are safe to eat but I still prefer not to buy them, because they are not very healthy food to begin with.”