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Irvins apologises for dead lizard discovery in popular salted fish skin snack

  • The dead reptile was found in a packet after half the bag had been eaten
  • Company owner apologised and said he would be investigating further, with refunds available for dissatisfied customers
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2019, 9:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 January, 2019, 7:25am

A Singaporean salted egg snack brand sold in Hong Kong and the Philippines, Irvins, has promised full refunds to customers wary of its products after a dead lizard was found in a packet of fried fish skin. The lizard, coated with salted egg, was found after Bangkok-based Jane Holloway’s brother and mother ate half the bag. Irvins products are manufactured in Singapore before being distributed to stores in the region.

There are seven Irvins’ outlets in Singapore and three each in Hong Kong and the Philippines. Large packs of snacks, such as salted egg fish skin and salted egg crisps, are sold for S$15, HK$110 and P$640, respectively.

Holloway, who posted her story and photos on Facebook over the weekend, told The Straits Times she had bought the snack from a Bangkok supermarket in early November. She wrote on Facebook: “How can this happen? This gecko was probably deep fried with the salmon skin by the looks of it. Eeeewwww!”

Irvins founder Irvin Gunawan apologised to customers in a Facebook post, saying the company would investigate the matter further. Customers with packets of the crisps that expire on 16 October 2019 or those who were uncomfortable with eating the snacks were asked to write to the company’s feedback email to arrange to return the products and get a full refund.

“This is a major blow to us, however we promise that we will fix this issue and continue to be an honest and responsible company to all of you,” Gunawan said, adding the company had reported the incident to Singapore’s Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority, which issues licences to food processing establishments.

Irvins products are popular with Hongkongers as well as Asian tourists visiting Singapore, who can often be spotted boarding their flights with bags of the snacks.

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The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At the Irvins pop-up store at Hysan Place on Wednesday evening, customers were unaware about the dead lizard found in the fish skin snack.

“I’m still going to buy these snacks because they’re tasty. I’m sure the company will make the necessary changes,” said Kelvin Pun, an 18-year-old student at Cheltenham College, who buys around two to three packs of fish skin snacks per day.

“I’ll wait two to three months for hygiene checks and improvements before buying again,” said Jade Leung, a woman in her thirties who works in finance.

Samantha Lee, 23, a Boston-based user experience designer holidaying in Hong Kong asked her sister’s boyfriend to buy salted egg fish skin from Singapore so she could share them with her friends.

“I was going to bring it back to Boston and introduce the snack to my friends. But now I can’t even share it with them – what if they find a lizard too? I’m very grossed out but I’m still going to eat the snacks because I bought five packs. I won’t buy any more after I finish them,” she said.

“Especially since it’s not a cheap snack, [Irvins] needs to update their facilities without increasing their price to win me back. I’m going to wait until the company can assure me that this won’t happen again.”