Singapore

Irvins apologises after dead lizard found in snack packet

Company offers refund for snacks expiring on Oct 16

Singapore-based food company Irvins Salted Egg is offering refunds for certain batches of its popular snack after a customer in Bangkok found a dead lizard coated with salted egg in a packet.

Irvins Salted Egg manufactures all its products in Singapore.

Ms Jane Holloway, 38, who lives in Bangkok, said in a Facebook post last Saturday that her mother and brother had finished half a bag of Irvins Salted Egg Fish Skin before discovering the dead gecko.

Describing it as "so disgusting", she wrote: "How can this happen? This gecko was probably deep fried with the salmon skin by the looks of it. Eeeewwww!"

Speaking to The Straits Times yesterday, Ms Holloway said that she bought the product in Bangkok in early November.

Her brother initially thought the dead lizard was a baby salmon fish head.

Ms Holloway, who works at the Thailand Institute of Justice, said that she has bought the snack several times for her family and her colleagues.

"It's also really expensive here at 700 baht (about S$29) a packet," she said, adding that it was one of her favourite snacks.

In Singapore, a small packet of the salted egg fish skin snack weighing 105g retails for $8, while a big packet at 230g costs $16. Ms Holloway had bought a big packet.

Yesterday, Irvins Salted Egg founder Irvin Gunawan said in a statement that the company is "shocked and devastated" to hear about the incident.

"We really want to sincerely apologise to the customer and everyone who is affected by this incident directly or indirectly. We take full responsibility for the goods that we sell and everything in it," he added.

He said that quality control is one of the most important aspects of the company and that he has contacted Ms Holloway personally about the incident and will be keeping in touch with her.

He added that the company has reported the case to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and will cooperate fully in AVA's investigations.

"We promise to make the necessary changes in our production to ensure this will never happen again," he said.

In an e-mail response to Ms Holloway's brother seen by The Straits Times, Mr Gunawan offered the family a refund and to pay the cost of any medical bills arising from the incident.

Ms Holloway said that while none of her family members have fallen ill after eating the snack, they are "definitely traumatised".

"Mum says she feels like throwing up when she thinks about it," she said.

In yesterday's statement, Mr Gunawan said that customers with salted egg snacks expiring on Oct 16 this year should e-mail feedback@irvinsaltedegg.com to return the product and receive a refund.

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