Li Chuan Food Products Pte Ltd has agreed to Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS)’s request to have two of its products – Li Chuan Fish Ball and Li Chuan Cuttlefish Ball – removed from the Singapore market, and overseas export halted while waiting for the outcome of MUIS’s investigation following alleged discovery of porcine DNA in the products.
In a statement last Friday (29 Jan), MUIS stated that it was notified by the Department of Syariah Affairs, Ministry of Religious Affairs (Brunei Darussalam) earlier on 25 January regarding the discovery of porcine DNA in the aforementioned products in random samples tested in Brunei.
Following this, the council immediately launched an investigation into the matter as Li Chuan is one of its Halal certificate holders.
MUIS noted that its officers conducted an inspection of the production plant, and retrieved samples of affected products on 27 January. The samples were sent for testing in accredited laboratories, and the appropriate follow-ups will be assessed once the investigations are completed.
The council acknowledged that the discovery of traces of porcine DNA in the affected products was made during random DNA testing of products done as part of the Bruneian authorities’ routine testing, which differs from its own practice of Halal certification.
“We are of the view that DNA testing should be employed only when there is a robust understanding and framework developed, that is agreed upon by religious scholars and experts,” said MUIS, adding that its approach is to undertake random sampling of high-risk food products such as meat and meat-based processed items.
“Muis’ checks focus on the ingredients used, production and preparation processes, facilities and compliance records (e.g. invoices, recognised Halal certificates of ingredients used where applicable, etc.),” the council elaborated.
MUIS went on to say that it will “continue to monitor the development of porcine DNA testing technology, and assess whether it is necessary to include such testing as part of Singapore’s Halal certification process”.
The council also acknowledged that there are messages circulating on various social media platforms and networks regarding this matter. Hence, it urged members of the public to refrain from any further speculation until the investigation has been concluded.
At the end of its statement, MUIS assured that it is “fully committed to ensuring requirements for the dietary needs of the Muslim community continue to be met”.
The council will provide update on the outcome of the investigation in due course.