- Facebook / Jane Holloway
- A woman’s photo of a dead lizard in a packet of salted egg fish skins produced by Singapore company Irvins Salted Egg went viral after it was posted on Dec 28, 2018.
- Irvins apologised personally to the woman and offered to cover any medical fees incurred by her family members.
- At least two more claims have since been made. A man in Vietnam told Business Insider he had also found a lizard in his pack of Irvins snacks last year, while a woman replied to Irvins’ Instagram post, saying she encountered the same thing in April last year.
- Irvins has not responded to the additional claims, but has offered a refund to customers following the viral photos.
This article was updated at 12:20pm on Jan 4.
Singapore-based Irvins Salted Egg, known across the region for producing sell-out salted egg-flavoured snacks, is once again a hot topic on social media – but not in a good way this time.
Customers are claiming that they have found charred, crisp and salted egg-coated additions in packets of Irvins Salted Egg Fish Skin – and it’s not fish skin or potato chips.
Instead, dead lizards – that appear deep-fried with bits of salted egg – are reportedly being found in the packets of snacks.
Irvins Salted Egg, which has the tagline “Dangerously Addictive”, manufactures all its products in Singapore.
Facebook user Jane Holloway said her family was eating a bag of Irvin’s fish skins when they discovered a black, stiff, shrivelled-up lizard hidden inside.
- Facebook / Jane Holloway
“I can’t believe Irvins Salted Egg is not purely salmon fish skin but also gecko!” she wrote in her post.
“This gecko was probably deep fried with the salmon skin by the looks of it,” she added.
The 38-year-old, who works at the Thailand Institute of Justice and lives in Bangkok, told Business Insider that the packet of fish skin in question was bought from international supermarket Villa Market at K Village in Bangkok on Nov 4, 2018.
As she was besotted with the snack at that point in time, she bought one packet for her mother and brother to try over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
They consumed it at home, and upon the discovery of the reptilian creature, Holloway’s brother immediately crafted a complaint email to Irvins Salted Egg.
According to Holloway, the company then replied to apologise and offered her a refund. It also said that it had recalled the product and, as of December, had moved its production facility to a newer and cleaner site. It also offered to cover medical bills that may have arisen as a result of the incident.
The company’s new production facility is in JTC Food Hub @ Senoko.
Similar encounters alleged by other social media users
Holloway said that another packet she bought on the same day did not contain any reptile whatsoever. “To be honest, I thought it was just a one-off mistake. Maybe the gecko on the ceiling fell into the processing machine,” she said.
But she then received messages and pictures from two other Facebook users who claimed to have also found lizards in their salted egg fish skin packets. “It’s quite alarming,” she said.
“I don’t know the other two people so I can’t vouch for them but if it’s true then Irvins has a serious quality control and hygiene problem.
“It would be a shame because it is a really delicious product and is one of my favorite snacks. It would also be a shame because it’s such a famous Singaporean export!” she said.
One of those people who contacted Holloway about a similar experience earlier last year was Facebook user Kevin Nguyễn.
- Kevin Nguyễn
Vietnamese Nguyễn told Business Insider that his packet was bought on Mar 18, 2018, from an Irvins Salted Egg shop situated in Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 2.
Like Holloway, he wrote a complaint to the company, and its founder Irvin Gunawan responded with an apologetic email seen by Business Insider.
The email read: “I have initiated steps to rectify the production so that this will never happen again and we will get the AVA to help us too.”
Gunawan also said that the company would compensate Nguyễn for “the incident, lawyer and any medical fees”.
“About the lawyer and government agencies, I understand it’s our fault and we will accept punishment,” he added.
In his email, the customer told Irvins Salted Egg that the incident made him lose trust in Singapore’s hygiene standards.
And Gunawan replied in a separate email: “I don’t think you should lose trust in Singapore (sic) hygiene standard because I know the food manufacturing here the control standard are much higher than Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam just for example…
“… It is weird because our controls are strict, we have biweekly pest controls and we never see pests in our factories. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) checks on us every few months,” he added.
In another claim, another woman had responded to the company’s apologetic post on Instagram saying that she had a similar experience last year.
The woman, who goes by the handle @el3na, said she experienced “the same issue back in April 2018”.
“No apologies were issued back then. Appreciate that you provide explanations this time around,” she wrote.
She also said that she was offered a refund if she could return to Singapore with the original packet of snacks.
- Instagram screenshot / irvinssaltedegg
A photo she posted on Apr 12, 2018 shows a dead lizard and bits of crisps on a plate.
View this post on Instagram
Irvins Salted Egg offers refund to “uncomfortable” customers
Following Holloway’s Facebook post, Irvins Salted Egg issued a statement to Business Insider on Wednesday (Jan 2) saying all of its staff were “shocked and devastated”.
“We take full responsibility for the goods that we sell and everything in it. I have since personally contacted the customer and will continue to do so to make sure that she and her family is (sic) alright,” Gunawan said in the statement.
“We promise to investigate this further as we don’t have a full explanation on how the dead lizard ended up in our snack pouch and we promise to make the necessary changes in our production to ensure this will never happen again,” he added.
He added that Holloway’s case has been reported to AVA and Irvins Salted Egg would cooperate fully with investigations into the incident.
The company is also offering to refund customers who have Irvins Salted Egg Fish Skin packets that expire on Oct 16, 2019, and those who are “uncomfortable with consuming our snacks”.
Those who wish to apply for a refund can email the company at email@example.com.
According to the founder, all recalled products will be disposed of.
Business Insider has reached out to Irvins Salted Egg for comment on the additional claims.