A popular Chinese restaurant known for its mala hotpot has been fined for selling illegally imported duck's blood.
Li Ji Chuan Chuan Xiang, which has outlets in South Bridge Road and Prinsep Street, was fined $8,000 yesterday.
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said it acted on a tip-off and found 6.3kg of the blood at the flagship South Bridge Road outlet in August last year.
Investigations by AVA found that the restaurant owner had bought the blood via WeChat from a man who has since been charged with possession of illegally imported duck's blood and meat products, and the abetment of illegal import of processed food.
The alleged importer's case is ongoing.
The blood is believed to have been used in a dish called Mao Xue Wang, which the restaurant offered for $28 a bowl.
When contacted by The New Paper yesterday, a staff member of the restaurant denied having ever sold the dish, despite it still being listed on the restaurant's online menu on food delivery site StarTaster.
While the Sichuan dish traditionally uses pig's or duck's blood, AVA said animal blood food products are prohibited in Singapore as they support the growth of bacteria and harbour diseases.
AVA added that the unhygienic harvesting of blood can result in the introduction of food-borne pathogens, and that illegally imported food products may pose a risk to public and animal health.
Any person who illegally imports meat products from unapproved sources is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and/or two years' jail on a first conviction, and in the case of subsequent convictions, to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or up to three years jail or to both.
This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.