SINGAPORE: The Well being Sciences Authority (HSA) has suggested folks to cease utilizing surgical masks made by an area firm which is being investigated for allegedly manufacturing them illegally at a facility in Ubi Crescent.

The ability, which is owned by Imaginative and prescient Empire Worldwide, was suspected to be manufacturing the masks and not using a licence from HSA, which is a requirement below the Well being Merchandise Act, the company stated in a press launch on Friday (Jun 11).

HSA stated it had discovered the allegedly unlawful manufacturing and repackaging facility on Could 31. It added that masks had been noticed to be “manufactured in an unhygienic and makeshift surroundings and positioned in carton bins ignored within the open”. 

A complete of 33 cartons, containing about 2,500 masks every, had been seized, it added.

Vision Empire International masks facility (2)

The ability, which is owned by Imaginative and prescient Empire Worldwide, was suspected to be manufacturing the masks and not using a licence from HSA. (Picture: Well being Sciences Authority)

The corporate can also be suspected to have imported surgical masks from abroad which had been then repackaged and rebranded with its packaging earlier than reselling, when they didn’t have the licence to take action, HSA stated. 

The manufactured and repackaged masks had been offered below the model “Imaginative and prescient Empire Healthcare”, the authority added.

Preliminary investigations revealed that these masks had been offered on native e-commerce platforms from S$10 to S$22 per field of 50. The listings have been eliminated with the help of the platform directors, and HSA has directed the corporate to recall the merchandise from the market. 

Additional investigations are ongoing, stated HSA.

In advising folks to cease utilizing masks from Imaginative and prescient Empire, HSA stated masks from unlicensed services haven’t been verified to fulfill the suitable requirements of high quality, filtration functionality and breathability. 

It added that sub-standard masks could not present the fascinating degree of safety to the wearer.

When CNA contacted Imaginative and prescient Empire Healthcare about HSA’s allegations, gross sales director Kelviin Tay stated he was “fairly shocked”. 

“I don’t assume it’s true to say it’s unlawful as a result of proper now, we’re working with them (HSA),” stated Mr Tay. 

“There wasn’t any cost or any conclusion to this,” he added.

Mr Tay stated that the corporate had began manufacturing masks round August final 12 months, however stopped operations in early February as manufacturing was not possible. 

“We tried to get it to work nevertheless it’s not straightforward, we did not produce mass quantity,” he stated.

“We (did) have the licence to import and likewise to export at that time limit, what HSA’s view with us (then) was that they wished to ensure that (our masks) had been compliant,” he claimed.

Mr Tay stated the corporate had despatched its masks for testing and had despatched lab outcomes on their bacterial filtration effectivity to HSA.

The corporate had additionally stopped gross sales on the finish of Could, below HSA’s directions. 

Additional investigations are ongoing, stated HSA. 

HSA stated it’ll take robust enforcement motion towards those that interact within the unlawful manufacture and/or provide of masks. Anybody who illegally manufactures and/or provides such masks is liable to prosecution and, if convicted, could also be imprisoned for as much as 2 years, fined as much as $50,000, or each.

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