Balut eggs contain developing bird embryos that are boiled and eaten from the shell. Photo: AVA

A 40-year-old man was fined for smuggling “balut” eggs, cooked duck eggs containing a developing embryo, into Singapore, while a 30-year-old woman was fined for buying them.

Balut eggs are boiled and eaten from the shell. Originating from the Philippines, they are sold as street food in several Southeast Asian countries.

In April, officers of Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority found 148 balut eggs in suitcases inside the trunk and spare-tire compartment of a car upon its arrival at Tuas Checkpoint in the city-state, according to an announcement published by the authority on Wednesday. 

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), which had been following the case for a few months, said Lea Soon Lieo, also known as Mohd Syukri Bin Sabri Lea, was fined S$5,000 (US$3,675) for illegally importing the eggs.

Ramiscal Quenny Dela Cruz, one of Lea’s buyers, was fined S$2,500 for purchasing the smuggled food products, which came from unknown sources, the AVA said.

Smuggled food products, which may not have undergone the necessary heat treatment to neutralize viruses, pose a risk to public and animal health, it said, adding that it had to remain vigilant to prevent diseases such as bird flu from being introduced into Singapore.

The seized eggs have been destroyed.

In Singapore, the maximum penalty for importing meat products from unapproved sources is S$50,000 and a jail term of up to two years. 

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