Food Safety – Why We Should Choose Local Produce
With ambitious targets set for local farmers to meet Singapore’s food security goal of producing 30% of our nutritional needs by 2030, there’ve been numerous news articles and TV programmes about “food security”, but it seems like there haven’t been much mention about “food safety”. However, do you know that food security does not just refer to the availability and affordability of food, but also to the availability and affordability of quality food that’s safe to eat?
What is Food Safety and Why is it Important?
Having constant access to safe food should not be taken for granted. Food safety is the result of joint efforts by the Singapore government, the industry and consumers to ensure that food is safe to eat and is not contaminated with harmful substances or microorganisms.
To ensure food safety from farm to fork, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) works closely with the industry, which has a role to play in ensuring that the food they provide is safe. As the national authority for food safety in Singapore, SFA sets food safety standards which are consistent with those adopted internationally and enforces these through regular inspections, surveillance and sampling.
To meet SFA’s requirements, our farmers have to adhere to rigorous practices to ensure that food safety is always at the heart of their operations. Thanks to the stringent farming practices which our licensed food farms adopt, we have a supply of safe local produce to enjoy every day.
What Factors Affect Food Safety?
When it comes to fish, eggs and vegetables, there are many factors that can undermine the safety of the produce. For example, the presence of heavy metals, drugs, bacteria or pesticides can all potentially harm our health. That’s why farms in Singapore must adhere to strict food safety guidelines to safeguard us from eating contaminated food which can make us ill.
For fish, the potential risks include bacterial or viral contamination, naturally occurring toxins, and chemical/drug contaminants. Pathogens are the primary food safety concern with regard to seafood. Some types of fish may also contain naturally occurring parasites. Proper handling practices are needed to minimise pathogen growth and foodborne illnesses. Another concern is environmental contaminants such as heavy metals accumulation, like mercury or lead, which can cause health problems. Lastly, improper or illegal use of drugs or chemicals in fish can also lead to residues present in the produce.
When it comes to eggs, a key worry is the possible presence of bacteria such as Salmonella, which is a leading cause of foodborne illnesses worldwide. It can be spread to humans through the consumption of contaminated eggs, and cause symptoms which include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. While in healthy adults the infection is typically self-limiting and subsides within a week, Salmonella can cause serious infections in vulnerable populations such as the elderly, young children and those with weakened immune systems. Similar to fish, drug and chemical residues can also be found in eggs due to improper or illegal use.
A common concern about vegetables is that the crop may have high residual levels of pesticides, as the exposure to large quantities of pesticides may cause poisoning.
Food Safety Regulations
In order to ensure that our fresh produce are safe to eat, our local fish, egg and vegetable farmers have a comprehensive list of licensing conditions from SFA that they have to comply with, and guidelines on good farm management and farming practices to follow.
Fish farms train their staff on good farm practices for safe food production, including measures to prevent diseases as this will result in loss of harvest. Incoming fish stocks should be from reliable sources, and have their health status verified before use in production. Fish health and water quality should be monitored and documented daily for adverse changes, and any dead or dying fish must be removed and disposed of properly.
Fish feed should also be from reliable sources and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Antibiotics, drugs and/or chemicals should be purchased from licensed distributors and their usage should be according to the manufacturer’s instructions after veterinary consultation. In addition, the withdrawal period prior to harvest must be strictly observed. Certain drugs and chemicals that are harmful to humans if their residues are found in fish meat are also banned from use. Fish ready for harvest are sampled regularly to ensure they do not have any residual levels of antibiotics, drugs, chemicals or heavy metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic beyond safety limits. Also, as sick or diseased fish are not fit for consumption, they are not harvested for sale.
The farm, particularly the packing area, must be cleaned regularly. After harvesting, only clean packing containers are to be used for the packing of fish, and fish must be packed with sufficient ice and transported chilled with proper cold chain management till the point of retail. Each batch of food fish leaving the farm must also be traceable to the farm with proper on-farm documentation.
All these measures ensure that consumers have access to healthy fish that are safe to eat. In addition, farms can choose to be certified under the Good Aquaculture Practice for Fish Farming (GAP-FF), which is a farm assurance scheme to certify local farms that have implemented farm management systems to ensure safe and quality farm production. The certification awarded by SFA provides local farms with a competitive tool to gain market access and consumers’ trust for their farm produce.
Egg farms have to maintain their premises in clean and sanitary conditions at all times and also implement necessary biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases like bird flu and bacteria such as Salmonella. This is important because bird flu, which can spread easily among birds, can result in the loss of laying hens and impact the supply of eggs, while Salmonella, which can enter the eggs through the pores of the shells, can contaminate the eggs and make them unsafe for consumption. The farms’ biosecurity measures are subjected to regular checks, while samples are taken regularly from the farm environment to ensure it is free of Salmonella. Veterinary drug administration to chickens, if necessary, is done with veterinary advice to ensure proper use. The eggs are also subjected to regular testing for drug residues.
Singapore’s egg farms produced 26% of our egg consumption in 2019. To safeguard our local supply of eggs, our egg farms have to ensure that all vehicles entering the production area must be thoroughly washed and disinfected, while all persons entering the production area must undergo bio-sanitation and be outfitted with protective farm clothing to prevent the introduction of diseases into the farm.
Every egg farm must dispose of dead birds, manure and other wastes from the farm properly. It must also have an effective pest control programme in place, and properly maintain the farm buildings used to store feed and eggs to prevent the entry of pests, wild birds and animals which can carry diseases.
In addition, the farm must implement bio segregation measures to prevent the contamination of eggs. These include effectively separating the egg collection areas from the production areas and locating the garbage collection points outside the farm premises.
As all our chicken egg farms are certified under SFA’s Singapore Quality Egg Scheme (SQES), the farms undergo yearly audits by SFA to ensure that the farms’ facilities are hygienic, the quality control monitoring systems are well-maintained, and the eggs from the farms are fresh. Knowing that local eggs go through such stringent checks, we can have peace of mind when we eat local eggs, as we can be assured of their safety, quality and freshness.
As with all licensed food farms in Singapore, licensed vegetable farms similarly have to maintain their farms in clean and sanitary conditions at all times. In addition, vegetable farms are not permitted to use any raw animal manure or human waste for crop cultivation. The farms are encouraged to adopt integrated pest management practices wherever possible to reduce the reliance on chemical control measures. When applying chemical control, vegetable farms must appoint a SFA-certified pesticide operator to ensure that the correct dose is applied and at a suitable period before harvest so that any residual effects will be minimised. All the agricultural pesticides used in Singapore-registered farms must be registered with SFA, and vegetables produced locally are routinely sampled to ensure that they are safe for consumption.
What’s more, farms can be certified under the Good Agriculture Practice for Vegetable Farming (GAP-VF) certification scheme which specifies safe and quality farm production. Some GAP-VF requirements in this scheme include soil being uncontaminated with heavy metals like mercury and lead, pesticide usage following the recommendations on the manufacturer’s label or as directed by a qualified plant health specialist, and having hygienic packing house conditons and proper cold chain management to ensure food safety and vegetable freshness.The GAP-VF certification mark therefore gives consumers the added assurance that the vegetables are from a safe and reliable source.
Why We Should Choose Local Produce
Singapore farmers are subject to strict regulations and guidelines. At the end of the day, these regulations ensure that each piece of locally-farmed fish, egg, and vegetable is fresh and safe to eat. So, buy local. And for extra peace of mind, choose local produce which are certified under SFA’s Farm Assurance Schemes.
Where to Buy Local Produce
Given the importance of food security and food safety, buying local has never been more important. So, choose local, and ensure that the country of origin stated on the packaging is Singapore.
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6 Healthy Eating Habits to Adopt For a Healthier Us!
In a food paradise like Singapore where delicious food can be found everywhere, choosing to eat healthy is not always everyone’s first choice, but it’s certainly becoming more popular. There’s increasing evidence that our island home is transforming into a more health-conscious nation, with an expanding health and lifestyle market to meet the needs of the growing number of health-conscious consumers.
Everyone can easily start the journey towards a healthier lifestyle today. Read on as we walk through 6 healthy eating habits that we can all adopt for better health.
Benefits of Eating Healthy Foods
Healthy eating promotes a myriad of different health benefits. From more energy and stronger immune systems to better protection against diseases, there is no shortage of benefits.
Improved Mood and Energy
Countless studies have highlighted the connection between food and mood. Healthy choices like vegetables and lean proteins can help us keep depression at bay, boost our mood, and improve our mental wellbeing, and this in turn will invariably make us feel more energetic and ready to take on the day. Conversely, foods full of fat and sugar increase our likelihood of depression and anxiety.
Better Quality Sleep
Healthy eating also leads to healthy sleeping. A balanced diet that’s high in fibre and low-fat proteins helps us sleep better. This is important as getting enough sleep is critical to our physical and mental health. Sleep is not only necessary to maintain critical body functions, repair muscle tissue, and restore energy, it’s also crucial for boosting brain function and concentration. It is therefore recommended that we eat a diet which emphasises vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins which are rich in B vitamins as Vitamin B helps to regulate melatonin – a natural sleep aid.
A Stronger Immune System
What we eat plays a big role in how well our immune systems can fight viruses. By eating healthy foods, we are filling our bodies with essential nutrients, and boosting our immune systems with the vitamins and minerals present in healthy foods, which are crucial for strengthening our bodies’ defences against common colds and viruses.
Healthier Weight and Less Body Fat
Eating foods with high nutritional value, while avoiding foods with high saturated and trans fats, sugar and salt, can help us maintain a healthy body weight. By steering clear of empty calories from food with little or no nutritional value, we can significantly lower our risk of obesity and other related health problems.
Better Protection Against Diseases and Illnesses
Healthy eating has been proven to combat common diseases. For example, lowering sugar intake can reduce our risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while reducing cholesterol intake can promote our heart health and reduce our risk of heart disease. Eating potassium-rich foods can also help us maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
3 Easy Habits For a Healthier Start to the New Year
When it comes to building healthier habits, the best approach is to take small steps in order to ensure that we’re not only fostering good and sustainable habits, but also setting attainable goals.
1. Buy and Eat Local Produce
As local produce have unparalleled freshness, they taste better and retain more nutrients. A small step like choosing local produce will provide us with more delicious and nutritious vegetables, fish and eggs. To consume healthier food, simply buy from local farmers who pride themselves on consistently producing high-quality foods that are safe to eat.
2. Make Portion Sizes Smaller
Controlling portion sizes is another small step in the journey towards building healthier habits. Eating too much is not good for us. Just follow the recommended food groups and portion sizes, and eat the right amounts of each food group for each meal to give our bodies the nutrients we need.
3. Drink More Water
Drink more water, and less sugary drinks which are laden with empty calories. When consumed in large amounts, sugary drinks can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease. So, choose water instead and add a slice of lemon for a citrusy twist.
3 Bigger Habit Shifts for Long-Term Vitality and Better Health
After a sustained period of taking small steps towards a healthier lifestyle, we can take a bigger leap for longer-term vitality. This can include diet changes like eating less meat, and making healthier choices.
1. Eat Less Meat
Eating less meat is not only better for our planet but also better for us as it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as lower our risk of developing heart disease and cancer. To eat less meat, we can adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet, or simply go meat-free one or two meals a week by replacing meat with another protein, like fish.
2. Choose More Locally-Sourced Low-Fat Proteins
Eating enough protein is important when trying to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle. When choosing protein, pick healthier sources of protein with lower levels of fat and cholesterol like vegetables, fish and eggs. With over 200 vegetable, fish and egg farms islandwide, it’s so easy to include locally-sourced low-fat proteins in our diet.
3. Make Healthier Choices
Deep-fried foods may be delicious, but they are also high in fat and calories. Whether dining in or out, choose healthier cooking methods, such as stir fried instead of deep fried, grilled instead of cooked with gravy, or simply steamed. When cooking at home, use healthier oils like canola oil or olive oil, and more herbs and spices instead of salt for flavouring. And when grocery-shopping, go for foods with the Healthier Choice Symbol, which are lower in fat, salt and sugar, and higher in fibre, calcium and whole grains.
Choose Local Produce to Improve Our Health, Our Planet, and Our Food Security
A key step towards becoming healthier is incorporating healthier eating habits into our everyday routine. Healthy eating relies on sourcing the right types of food for our diet.
With our farmers working hard to farm quality produce ranging from pasteurised and nutrient-enriched eggs, to leafy vegetables and sprouts, and Omega 3-rich fish, choosing nutritious local produce has never been easier.
By including local produce in our healthy eating regime, we are not only eating fresh, nutritious and safe food, we are also contributing to less greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthening Singapore’s food security for many years to come.
Where to Buy Quality Local Produce in Singapore
When it comes to healthy eating, we don’t have to overhaul our lifestyles. Instead, we can take things slowly, build up a good foundation of healthy eating habits, and over time we will begin to reap the benefits of better health.
So, let’s kickstart our new health goals with local produce today by simply shopping at e-SG Farmers’ Market via this link: bit.ly/e-sgfm
Local Produce and Imported Produce: What We Need to Know
When it comes to local and imported produce, there are many factors that impact the availability of each, such as climate and the availability of land.
As Singapore lies one degree north of the equator, we only have one season all year round. And being a highly-populated and land-scarce urban city with a population of 5.7 million and only 724 sq km of land, less than 1% of our land is available for farming. So, it is not surprising that there is a limit to the quantity and variety of produce we are able to farm in Singapore. This is why we are currently producing less than 10% of the food we eat, and more than 90% is imported from around the world.
Given that we import over 90% of our food, Singapore is very vulnerable to volatilities in the global food market and disruptions in our food supplies. This vulnerability will only become more acute in time, as global crop yields are estimated to decline by up to 25% by 2050 due to the impacts of climate change. These include environmental changes such as rising temperatures and extreme weather conditions such as floods or droughts.
In order to be prepared for the impacts of climate change, which are becoming more apparent globally at an alarming rate, Singapore needs to have a realistic and sustainable food security model.
Let’s take a look at what’s being done to ensure our food supply resilience, and how important local and imported produce are to our food security.
Singapore’s Food Security
Because of our limited natural resources, it is understandable that we cannot be 100% self-sufficient, and we need to import the types of produce that we are not able to farm here. However, we can reduce our reliance on imports by producing more of what we can farm.
Food security is high on our nation’s agenda. Initiatives like Singapore’s Food Security Roadmap and 2020: Singapore Food Story are steering Singapore towards ensuring a more resilient supply of food for us, from local as well as import sources.
While both local and imported produce are important to Singapore’s food security, we are aiming to produce 30% of our nutritional needs by 2030 to reduce our reliance on imports. In fact, to strengthen our food security, Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is pursuing 3 broad strategies called the 3 Food Baskets:
- Grow more locally to provide a bigger buffer against overseas supply disruptions
- Grow overseas to help local companies expand abroad and export food back when necessary
- Diversify import sources to reduce the risk of reliance on any single food supply source
There are 220 farms in Singapore, comprising 121 fish farms, 77 leafy vegetable farms, 6 beansprout farms, 5 chicken / quail egg farms, and 11 farms that produce other types of food. Collectively, our food farms produce 10% of our fish consumption (4,700 tonnes), 26% of our egg consumption (528 million pieces), and 14% of our leafy vegetable consumption (12,700 tonnes).
At the same time, Singapore imports over 93,611 tonnes of fish, 1.5 million hen eggs and 452,980 tonnes of vegetables every year!
With the support of the Singapore government, more and more of our farms are embracing technology to ramp up production of local produce and boost our food security.
Why We Should Support Local
While we can’t do away with imports, we can certainly do more to make a conscious decision to choose local over imported produce when a choice is available, so as to support our local farmers and enable them to produce more. Because much as we would like our farms to increase the supply of local produce to boost our food security, the economics won’t make sense unless consumer demand also increases in tandem. So, when given a choice between local and imported produce, choose local whenever possible, to reduce our reliance on imports and support our “30 by 30” goal, which is a vital part of Singapore’s food security.
When buying food from the supermarket or another retailer, our purchasing decisions may be based on a number of different factors as we weigh the pros and cons of local and imported produce. It may be easy to look past the country of origin in favour of price. However, what we choose to buy has far-reaching impacts. Apart from directly affecting Singapore’s food supply resilience, our purchasing decisions also affect the freshness, safety and nutritional content of the food we eat, as well as our environment and economy.
As supporting local produce is important in ensuring food supply resilience for Singapore, when shopping for fresh produce, be sure to look for the country of origin and make Singapore-farmed produce our Number 1 choice.
Freshness, Nutrient Density and Food Safety
Compared with imported produce, local produce take a shorter time to get from the farms to the stores and to our plates. As fresh produce start losing nutrients as soon as they are harvested, this means local produce are fresher and retain more nutrients. And when food is eaten at the peak of freshness, it tastes better too!
We can also be assured that local produce are safe to eat. Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has stringent farming regulations. For example, our farms are only allowed to use agricultural pesticides that are registered with SFA.
For extra quality assurance, look for locally-farmed eggs, vegetables and fish that are from farms which are certified and accredited under these quality assurance schemes:
- Singapore Quality Egg Scheme (SQES)
- Good Agricultural Practice for Vegetable Farming (GAP-VF) Scheme
- Good Aquaculture Practice for Fish Farming (GAP-FF) Scheme
Eating local produce reduces our impact on the environment as the distance our food travels to get to us affect the amount of transport-related greenhouse gas emissions that our food produces.
Transport has a direct impact on the climate, and produce that are transported by air leave a particularly high carbon footprint. Making the shift to locally-farmed produce can have a positive impact on the environment if enough people commit to making a change. So, let’s consider whether or not we truly need those produce that are imported by air, or whether we can buy local instead.
Another reason to buy local is because local produce are fresher, therefore they remain edible for a longer period of time. This results in less food waste.
A food system that is truly sustainable is one that supports local farmers, while conserving natural resources for future generations. To optimise resources and conserve land use, an increasing number of farms in Singapore is using agriculture technology and alternative farming methods like vertical, indoor and even rooftop farming.
So, choosing to buy local produce over imported produce whenever possible can help to reduce wastage and ensure that the limited land in Singapore is used efficiently and productively.
Choosing to buy produce from Singapore’s agro-food industry also supports our local farmers, enables them to produce more and sell more, and ensures that the money we spend goes back to Singapore’s economy for more robust growth.
Make an Informed Decision With Local and Imported Produce
In line with Singapore’s move towards a more food-resilient future, buying fresh produce that has been farmed in Singapore is not only great for our health, but also for our environment, economy and the future of our country.
Besides the nutritional, environmental and economic benefits, buying locally-farmed produce supports the farmers in Singapore, who are working hard to ensure we have safe food to eat and Singapore has a resilient food supply.
So, choose Singapore-farmed produce whenever possible! Support our farmers, our economy, and our food security. Buy locally-farmed produce at e-SG Farmers’ Market anytime, and have fresh local produce delivered right to your doorstep!
Top Health Benefits of 5 Types of Singapore-Farmed Fish
Fish are not only a joy to eat, but are also a simple and efficient way to provide our bodies with a number of important health benefits. Perfect for those looking for a delicious and nutrient-rich food source, fish provide us with a vast range of micro and macro-nutrients that our bodies need to function optimally.
Fish are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They are loaded with important nutrients, such as protein and Vitamin D. They are also a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are crucial for optimal body and brain function, and strongly linked to a reduced risk of many diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes. To meet our Omega 3 requirements, eating fatty fish at least once or twice a week is recommended.
Apart from making fish a key part of our diet, we should also make the switch to buying locally-farmed fish. Recent developments in farming technology have made it possible for our closed containment fish farms to farm fish in contamination-free environments. The stringent food safety standards imposed by Singapore Food Agency also ensure that Singapore-farmed fish are safe to eat.
Our local fish farms produce a good variety of fish. Let’s take a look at some of the top health benefits of five types of Singapore-farmed fish.
1. Australian Jade Perch
Yes, Australian Jade Perch is farmed in Singapore! Australian Jade Perch contains high natural levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, making it an ideal fish to get your essential fats from, and is a fantastic alternative to other Omega 3-rich fish like mackerel and salmon. Omega 3 fatty acids have been known to lower blood pressure, prevent the development of plaque in our arteries, and reduce the likelihood of strokes and heart disease. In other words, they’re vital for keeping our heart healthy!
Australian Jade Perch’s meat texture is smooth and delicate, making it suitable for steaming and baking. You can use it in delicious recipes such as this Fermented Bean Jade Perch or Oven Baked Jade Perch with Roasted Vegetables.
Well-known American doctor Dr Mehmet Oz has declared Barramundi as “one of the top 5 superfoods”. Not only is Barramundi low in fat, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, and high in protein, it is also a good source of essential vitamins and minerals that support our immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Barramundi is a nutritious, versatile and extremely yummy fish. The white meat is light, flaky and delicious, and works well in a variety of dishes, such as this Chinese Salt & Pepper Barramundi Fish and Barramundi Fillets with Homemade Soy Ginger Sauce.
3. Grey Mullet
An oil-rich fish that is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, Grey Mullet is also an important source of Vitamin B6, niacin and selenium. The benefits of these nutrients include promoting brain health, reducing the risk of heart disease, and boosting our immune systems, among others.
Grey Mullet has a rich, distinctive flavour, and succulent grey meat with a medium to firm texture that flakes easily after cooking. It can be prepared in many ways, including steaming, grilling and pan-frying, and is fantastic in recipes like this Crispy Fish Served with Vermicelli in Sweet and Tangy Stew.
4. Red Snapper
Red Snapper is a fantastic source of Vitamins D and E, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium and selenium, which are important for our teeth and bone development, immune system function, muscle movement, and nervous system regulation. In addition, it also provides other health benefits like promoting good eye health, and protecting us from osteoporosis and heart disease with its high content of Vitamin A, potassium and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Popular with fish lovers, Red Snapper has red skin with pinkish-tinge meat, a firm texture, and a mildly sweet flavour. It can be grilled, baked or pan-fried, and works perfectly in dishes like this Chinese-Style Snapper.
5. Red Tilapia
Red Tilapia has become a vital food source and a seafood staple in several countries. An affordable and excellent source of nutrients, it’s loaded with Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, protein, calcium and selenium, which are good for promoting heart health, controlling cholesterol, as well as building strong bones, muscles and immune systems.
Delightfully mild in flavour, Red Tilapia has a medium-firm texture which makes it most suitable for steaming, baking and grilling. It can be used in a wide range of recipes, such as this Sweet and Sour Super Red Tilapia dish.
Good Reasons to Choose Locally-Farmed Fish
Besides supporting our local economy, there are many reasons why making the personal decision to choose fresh locally-farmed fish over imported fish is an excellent one. Shorter distances from local fish farms to retail outlets lead to quicker delivery times. This means that local fish will be fresher and have a longer shelf life when they get to you. They will also retain more nutrients, meaning you will enjoy more of the health benefits fresh locally-farmed fish have to offer.
Buying local is also better for the environment, as transporting goods locally leaves a smaller carbon footprint than long-distance imports. As local farms are licensed by Singapore Food Agency, buying local also means eating safe, traceable and quality ingredients.
So, choose Singapore-farmed fish the next time you go shopping. Support our fish farmers, our economy, and our food security. Buy these locally-farmed fish and more at e-SG Farmers’ Market today!
[Disclaimer: The local farms and produce on e-SG Farmers’ Market, which are mentioned in this article, are correct as at 30 September 2020 and are subject to change. Stocks are subject to availability. In the event that any of the produce is sold out, we encourage you to visit e-SG Farmers’ Market again shortly, as our farmers endeavour to re-stock as quickly as they possibly can.]
Top Health Benefits of 5 Different Types of Singapore-Farmed Eggs
Eggs are delicious, versatile and packed full of the nutrients that our bodies need to function optimally. Because of this, these yummy little powerhouses are a fantastic addition to our diet, giving our bodies the energy, vitamins and minerals we need to progress through our busy days.
As well as fuelling our bodies, eating eggs provides us with many other health benefits. Considered one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, a single large boiled egg contains:
- Vitamin A: 6% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDA)
- Folate: 5% of the RDA
- Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA
- Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA
- Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA
- Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA
- Selenium: 22% of the RDA
- Decent amounts of Vitamins D, E, K, B6, calcium and zinc
If the above doesn’t convince you that eggs are “superfoods”, here are more facts: A single egg has 77 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats, making it a great addition to most diets.
Although eggs are high in cholesterol, eating eggs doesn’t adversely affect the blood cholesterol in most people. In fact, it is a good way to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – the good cholesterol which lowers the risk of many diseases. The effects of eggs on cholesterol levels vary between individuals, however, the science shows that eating up to three whole eggs (including the yolks) per day is perfectly safe for healthy people.
Our local farms produce a good variety of eggs – ranging from fresh eggs to nutrient-enriched eggs and even “designer eggs”. Let’s dive more into the health benefits of some of our very own Singapore-farmed eggs!
Considered “designer eggs”, Carrot Eggs come from hens fed with alfalfa or marigold petals, which then produce egg yolks that have a high lutein content. Lutein (a carotenoid) is a powerful antioxidant which defends our bodies against free radicals. In excess, free radicals can damage our eyes, cells, contribute to ageing, and lead to the progression of diseases like heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. So, eating carrot eggs with their high lutein content is great for our health!
Corn Eggs are produced by hens that have been fed a hearty and wholesome diet of premium quality corn. Healthy hens lay healthy eggs, and as a result of these healthy natural ingredients in the feed, the corn eggs produced by these hens are superior in nutrients compared to normal eggs. Rich in protein and low in calories, they are the perfect addition to our diet!
Corn eggs are produced by all the three chicken egg farms in Singapore.
Pasteurized Eggs are just as nutritious as regular eggs, but with the added benefits of pasteurization. The process of pasteurization heats the egg to the point where any dangerous bacteria is killed, without actually cooking the egg itself. This protects us from catching foodborne illnesses such as salmonellosis, which is caused by the Salmonella bacteria. Pasteurization also kills the harmful Bird Flu virus that may be present in or on the eggs. Pasteurized eggs are therefore especially beneficial for children, pregnant ladies, seniors, those with lower immunity, as well as those who love runny eggs that are not thoroughly cooked.
N&N Agriculture is the first and only pasteurized egg producer in Singapore. It has been producing its Egg Story brand of pasteurized eggs since 2013, and no chemicals or radiation is used in its pasteurization process.
Eggs With Omega 3
Omega 3-enriched eggs are eggs that are produced by chickens whose feed is supplemented with an Omega 3 source like flax seeds. A study which compared the fatty acid composition of different types of eggs showed that Omega 3-enriched eggs had five times as much Omega 3 as conventional eggs.
As our body cannot produce Omega 3 and many people don’t eat enough it, eating eggs which contain or are enriched with Omega 3 is a fantastic way to add it to our diet. This is important as Omega 3 is an essential fat which is needed for the proper functioning of our bodies. Among other benefits, it helps to improve heart health, support infant brain development, prevent dementia, promote bone health, and fight inflammation that can contribute to a number of chronic diseases.
Omega 3 eggs are produced by all the three chicken egg farms in Singapore.
Eggs With Vitamin E
Studies have recognised a direct link between feed and the vitamin content of eggs. The Vitamin E in eggs is increased when the diet of laying hens is fortified with it.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect our cells from damage and slows their ageing process, keeping our bodies healthier for longer. Vitamin E even helps to repair damaged cells, meaning it’s especially beneficial for those with higher lifestyle or environmental risk factors (such as smokers, and those with high exposure to air pollution and ultraviolet rays from the sun). This makes eggs which contain or are enriched with Vitamin E a great inclusion in our diet, as they help protect our bodies from free radicals, which can contribute to heart disease and cancer.
Vitamin E eggs are produced by Chew’s and N&N Agriculture in Singapore.
Good Reasons to Choose Local Produce
When it comes to our grocery shopping, there are so many reasons why purchasing local produce is a great idea. Shorter distances and delivery times from local farms to retail outlets mean that local produce such as farm-fresh eggs are fresher, retain more nutrients, have a longer shelf life and leave a smaller carbon footprint. It’s good for both our bodies and the planet! As our farms are licensed by Singapore Food Agency, buying local also means that you’re purchasing safe, traceable and quality produce.
So, choose Singapore-farmed produce for optimal health benefits, and support our farmers, our economy, and our food security. Buy these locally-farmed eggs and more at e-SG Farmers’ Market today, and try out these delicious egg recipes:
[Disclaimer: The local farms and produce on e-SG Farmers’ Market, which are mentioned in this article, are correct as at 31 August 2020 and are subject to change. Stocks are subject to availability. In the event that any of the produce is sold out, we encourage you to visit e-SG Farmers’ Market again shortly, as our farmers endeavour to re-stock as quickly as they possibly can.]
Top Health Benefits of 10 Singapore-Farmed Vegetables
Vegetables are not just good inclusions to our diet – they are vital to our well-being! With the busy lives we lead, it’s imperative that our bodies get the necessary vitamins and minerals that are needed to enable us to function properly, and thankfully, vegetables provide many of these nutrients.
As well as being naturally low in fat and calories and containing no cholesterol, vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fibre, folate, Vitamins A, C and more.
A diet rich in vegetables is beneficial to our health. It can help to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower the risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect on blood sugar, which can help us keep our appetites in check and maintain a healthy weight.
A good variety of vegetables is farmed in Singapore. Buying Singapore-farmed produce is not only good for our country’s food security but also good for us! With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the amazing health benefits of vegetables grown right here in Singapore for our eating pleasure.
Basil is known as the ‘king of herbs’ for its sweet, strong and spicy flavour, making it the perfect addition to a vast array of dishes. This mighty herb is a great source of Vitamin K, which is important for growth and the development of healthy bones.
The most common variety of basil is Sweet Basil which has large, green, oval-shaped leaves. Fragrant and tasty, it is great for sprinkling on pizzas. Other varieties can be of varying leaf sizes, and have unique flavour profiles. For example, Thai Basil has a spicy flavour and is a perfect complement for spicy dishes such as Tom Yam, while Genovese Basil is particularly popular for making pesto.
2. Bean Sprouts
Bean Sprouts are sweet and juicy shoots that add a bit of crunch to a dish. They are packed full of Vitamin C, which promotes healthy teeth and gums, helps the body absorb iron, as well as encourages wounds to heal quickly. It also contains Vitamin K, which is vital for growth and the development of healthy bones.
Fresh bean sprouts are translucent to white in colour, juicy and crunchy to the bite. Choose bean sprouts as a delicious topper for a variety of stir fries and broths.
3. Cai Xin
Cai Xin or Chye Sim, is a Chinese flowering cabbage known for its earthy taste.
This vegetable is recognised for its nutritional benefits, specifically potassium – an essential dietary mineral which is important for nerve and muscle function. The fibre it contains keeps our digestive systems healthy and helps to prevent bloating and constipation, while the Vitamins A and C contained within do wonders for supporting our immune systems.
Perfect when paired with garlic and oyster sauce, this hearty green is a delicious accompaniment for many meat dishes.
Considered to be a superhero when it comes to health-promoting vegetables, Kale is a thick, leafy vegetable that can range from rich to herbaceous in flavour, and is a good choice for salads. There are several varieties of kale including Curly Kale and Tuscan Kale, all of which differ slightly in appearance, texture and taste.
Packed with minerals and Vitamins A, B6, C and K, kale brings with it a plethora of health benefits for our bodies. Apart from supporting nerve, muscle and brain function, it also helps our bodies form red blood cells, and promotes healthy bones, skin, teeth, gums and immune systems.
5. Kang Kong
Kang Kong has a very pleasant, mild, sweet flavour with delicious nutty undertones. Popular in Asian cooking, it is commonly stir fried with garlic and chillis, or Sambal Belachan (a hot and spicy condiment made primarily with a blend of chillis, shrimp paste and lime juice).
Kang Kong is an excellent source of potassium, Vitamin A and iron, which support our body’s nerve and muscle function, and red blood cell production. It is also crucial for maintaining healthy skin and vision, and keeping our immune systems strong to help fight off viruses.
6. Lady’s Fingers
Also known as Okra, Lady’s Fingers have a mild flavour and are popularly used in stir fries, soups and stews.
Lady’s Fingers are full of minerals and Vitamins C and K, which help our bodies to maintain healthy skin, nerves, teeth, gums and bones, as well as a healthy heart rhythm. They’re also full of fibre which aids digestion.
One of the most common (and most loved) vegetables in the world, Lettuce comes in a wide range of tastes and textures – varying from subtle to intense, and from soft to crunchy. Often eaten raw, it is popular in salads, sandwiches and wraps.
Lettuce provides us with a myriad of health benefits including supporting red blood cell production, and promoting healthy skin, nerves, teeth, gums as well as digestive and immune systems to protect us against infections and diseases.
8. Pea Sprouts
Also known as Dou Miao, Pea Sprouts – the sprouted seeds of the pea plant – are nutritional powerhouses. Rich in protein, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and Vitamins C and K, this array of nutrients helps to improve our digestion, blood sugar levels, and heart health.
Pea sprouts are delicious when stir fried with oyster sauce.
Spinach, also known as Bayam, is a soft and tender leafy vegetable with a mild and delicate flavour. Versatile and used in both Western and Asian cuisines, it can be eaten raw or cooked, and is perfect for soups, stir fries and using as a base for salads.
Spinach provides a host of health benefits for our bodies. These benefits include helping our bodies to form red blood cells, our nerves and muscles to function properly, and our eyes, bones, digestive and immune systems to stay healthy.
10. Xiao Bai Cai
Xiao Bai Cai – a member of the brassica (cabbage) family – is a delicious crunchy addition to stir fries and soups, and a local favourite when stir fried with oyster sauce and garlic.
Xiao Bai Cai is another health-promoting vegetable. It’s a good source of folate and Vitamins B6, C and K, and is fantastic when it comes to maintaining brain function, promoting healthy teeth, gums and bones, and supporting a healthy functioning immune system. The vitamins and minerals within Xiao Bai Cai are also good for red blood cell production, which helps our bodies transport oxygen to our tissues.
Choose Locally-Farmed Vegetables for Optimal Benefits
Buying fresh produce that are farmed in Singapore is a practice that benefits our health, environment and other aspects of our lives. Shorter distances and delivery times from local farms to retail outlets mean that local produce are usually fresher, retain more nutrients, have a longer shelf life, and leave a lower carbon footprint on the environment. As our farms are licensed by the Singapore Food Agency which imposes strict standards on food safety, buying local also means eating safe, traceable, quality vegetables.
So, choose Singapore-farmed produce today for optimal health benefits, and support our farmers, our economy, and our food security at the same time. Shop for these fresh locally-grown vegetables and more at e-SG Farmers’ Market today!
[Disclaimer: The local farms and produce on e-SG Farmers’ Market, which are mentioned in this article, are correct as at 17 August 2020 and are subject to change. Stocks are subject to availability. In the event that any of the produce is sold out, we encourage you to visit e-SG Farmers’ Market again shortly, as our farmers endeavour to re-stock as quickly as they possibly can.]