Where is our own surveillance?

For the second time in recent months, Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has discovered, through its surveillance, that bottled drinking water from Malaysia contains harmful bacteria. Since then, the import of the brands concerned has been stopped.

I remember some time back, vegetables from Cameron Highlands were also banned by the Singapore authorities because they contained high pesticide content.

There are serious questions arising from incidents like this.

If Malaysian bottled drinking water and vegetables have not been exported to Singapore, would we ever find out these products are harmful to health?

I wonder what has happened to our own surveillance and enforcement agencies?

First, they did not even detect what Singapore has detected. Secondly, are they even aware of what Singapore has detected? And third, if they are aware, may I know what they are doing about it?

There is an adage that says “prevention is better than cure”. But I guess for us here, we need to wait for people to fall ill or die first.

We have multiple enforcement and surveillance agencies but somehow their effectiveness is scanty and far in between.

If Singapore has not disclosed the bacteria in the bottled water concerned, would we ever know?

It is the durian season again. The king of the fruits is the favourite of many. Already, I have heard of severe sore throat, loss of voice and dizziness when consuming some of this fruit.

I am not casting aspersions here on durian planters. But we do hear of horrendous stories of pesticide use on durians.

To be on the safe side, have we heard of our authorities checking the pesticide level in our durians?

If not, are we waiting for Singapore, or perhaps China, to tell us first?

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.