Sales of Chun Cui He milk tea stopped
AVA says the Taiwanese beverage contains L-theanine, which is not on S'pore's list of permitted food additives
Whenever Ms Jessie Lee, 26, finished her morning jog, she would head to a 7-Eleven to get her favourite drink, Taiwanese Chun Cui He milk tea.
She buys each bottle for $2.80 and sells any extra bottles online on Carousell for $5.The drink comes in two flavours - milk tea and latte.
But since yesterday, Ms Lee has not been able to sell any bottles because the milk tea flavour has been recalled by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) over an unapproved food additive.
The latte flavour, however, has not been affected and is still on sale.
The AVA said in a press release the milk tea flavour contains L-theanine, which is currently not on the list of permitted food additives under the Food Regulations of Singapore.
Yesterday afternoon, Chun Cui He explained in a Facebook post that L-theanine is an organic compound found naturally in certain green tea leaves.
It is commonly used in health supplements to help relieve stress and insomnia.
Importers Abana Singapore first brought the drink to Singapore last month, according to its website. It is now working on registering L-theanine as an approved ingredient with AVA.
Said Ms Lee: "Personally, I think it (the milk tea flavour) is safe to drink. But now that it has been recalled, I will just finish it up myself."
While the AVA said there is no food safety risk, consumers are advised to consult their doctors over any health concerns.
The drink is so popular that the bottles were sold out at 7-Eleven stores almost immediately after being restocked, usually in the middle of the night.
Customers such as Ms Carrie Tan, 30, had to visit a 7-Eleven at 2am to get her fix.
The admin executive told The New Paper: "I heard people say the stocks arrive only in the middle of the night. I was around a neighbourhood 7-Eleven when the delivery came, so I managed to get mine."
The convenience store chain even had to impose a limit of six bottles per customer.
A spokesman for 7-Eleven told TNP the chain has recalled all remaining stocks of Chun Cui He milk tea from its stores and stopped further import of it.
She added: "Customers who have unconsumed bottles of the milk tea and have concerns can return them to any 7-Eleven store for a full refund."
The Straits Times reported on July 30 that one fan even created a Facebook page called Chun Cui He Tea Stocks, which is dedicated to stock updates.
The page has over 3,000 "likes''.
Users would post their own observations on stock updates across Singapore.
In a Facebook post, the admin noted that stores in the east side of Singapore usually restock on odd-number days, while stores in the west would restock on even-number days.
The Straits Times reported about a million bottles of the drink had been sold since the milk tea and latte flavours made their debut here.
Personally, I think it (the milk tea flavour) is safe to drink. But now that it has been recalled, I will just finish it up myself.
- Ms Jessie Lee