NTUC FairPrice withdraws all Thern Da products

THIS will be the last Chinese New Year where you can buy shark’s fin products from FairPrice outlets.

Singapore’s largest supermarket chain announced yesterday that it will stop selling such products by the end of March.

In another surprise move, FairPrice is also withdrawing from its shelves all products from one seafood supplier – Thern Da Seafood – after one of its employees made insensitive comments about divers who were against shark finning.

A Mr Chris Lee had announced in a recent Facebook post that a product supplied by his company – containing shark’s fin – would be launched this month at FairPrice outlets during Chinese New Year.

Mr Lee, who is listed as Thern Da’s sales manager, said: “S***w the divers!”

He then went on to mock the divers for being unable to stop his company from supplying the product.

Mr Lee even directed an expletive at them, saying: “I’m not the one who slashed the sharks.”

His comments, which were made last November, angered netizens.

On Wednesday, they complained about the matter on FairPrice’s Facebook page. And yesterday, FairPrice acted.

Withdraw

The supermarket announced it was withdrawing all Thern Da products from its stores.

Its chief executive officer, Mr Seah Kian Peng, told The New Paper in an e-mail reply: “We know many customers are upset by the insensitive post.

“We do not condone such insensitive remarks.”

Mr Seah explained that as a standing instruction, all FairPrice’s suppliers are required to clear their joint promotional materials and messages with the retailer before implementation.

Thern Da had not done so in this instance.

Said Mr Seah: “We take this matter very seriously.”

He also announced that FairPrice will cease the sale of shark’s fin products by the end of March.

This will apply across all its retail formats, including its supermarkets, hypermarkets, Cheers outlets and its online platform.

The decision was made after a review over the last few months. Said Mr Seah: “We recognise that there are areas of sustainability, such as environmental sustainability, that need to be addressed. “As such, we have been continually assessing various policies in our commitment to be a socially responsible retailer.

“We will no longer be extending new commitments for shark’s fin products.” Netizens applauded FairPrice’s decision.

One said: “I’m so happy to see NTUC make such a courageous stand.

“Thanks for making sure future generations will have healthy fish stocks in the ocean.”

But another netizen said: “Well done, FairPrice, though removal of shark’s fin products before CNY will send an even stronger message in your commitment to sustainability.

“Such an announcement before CNY might result in an abnormal spike in demand, which will be detrimental to your cause.”

It was reported last October that Cold Storage was the first supermarket chain in Singapore to stop selling shark’s fin and other shark products.

Thern Da, a private company registered in 2008, could not be reached for comment.

Its Facebook account, as well as Mr Lee’s, appear to have been deleted.

This article was first published in The New Paper.