SINGAPORE, June 11 — The authorities have warned the public to stop using face masks sold by a local company suspected of making and repackaging them illegally in unsanitary conditions.
In a press release, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said it had uncovered an illegal mask manufacturing and repackaging facility at Ubi Crescent on May 31.
The facility is owned by the company Vision Empire International, which is suspected to be manufacturing surgical masks without a licence from the HSA, a requirement under the Health Products Act.
This is the first such case in Singapore, the authority added.
The masks were found to be manufactured in an unhygienic and makeshift environment. They were also placed in carton boxes, which were left out in the open.
A total of 33 cartons, each containing around 2,500 masks, were seized.
In addition, the company allegedly imported surgical masks from overseas and repackaged and rebranded them for reselling, despite not having the license to do so, the authority said.
Both the manufactured and repackaged masks were sold under the brand name Vision Empire Healthcare.
Based on preliminary investigations, each box of 50 masks was sold for S$10 (RM31) to S$22 on local e-commerce platforms.
HSA said the listings have been removed with the help of the platform administrators, and that it has directed the company to recall the products.
Further investigations are ongoing.
The masks are seen in boxes left out in the open at the facility. Photo: Health Sciences Authority
Those who own Vision Empire Healthcare masks are advised to stop using them immediately.
Surgical masks from unlicensed facilities have not been verified to meet the appropriate standards of quality, filtration capability and breathability, HSA said.
“Masks manufactured, repackaged and/or stored under unsanitary conditions may potentially be contaminated or exposed to undesirable impurities from the environment,” it added.
Users who wear such masks risk developing skin irritation, respiratory symptoms or infections.
HSA said it “will take strong enforcement action against those who engage in the illegal manufacture and/or supply of masks.”
Those convicted of illegally manufacturing and/or supplying such masks may be jailed for up to two years, fined up to US$50,000, or both. — TODAY