Malaysian poultry back in Singapore but AVA will impose stricter checks

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 30 Sep 2004

SINGAPORE: Trucks carrying more than 120,000 chickens, 2,000 ducks and 1.3 million eggs a day from Malaysia will start rolling into Singapore this morning following the city state's decision to partially lift the six-week-old ban. 

Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said on Tuesday that it was satisfied with the measures taken by the Malaysian authorities to ensure that the poultry and eggs would be safe. 

The authorities here imposed a blanket suspension on Malaysian poultry product imports on Aug 18 after the H5 strain of avian influenza was found in a Kelantan farm. 

Bernama reports that of the 130 accredited poultry and egg farms in Malacca and Johor inspected by AVA officials over the last three weeks, 95 were approved to resume exports.  

Of these, 85 were for chickens, seven for eggs and three for ducks. 

“The lifting of the suspension is in the nick of time,” said Chiew Kian Huat, secretary of Singapore's Poultry Merchants Association. 

“If it lasts any longer, some slaughterhouses will have to shut down as our members have already lost a total of S$2mil during the suspension.”  

Chiew said over 20 of the more than 100 poultry wholesalers here had shut down due to the suspension. 

When the trucks start rolling in from Malaysian poultry farms today, they would be subjected to stricter checks at the checkpoint, the AVA said. 

If just 3% of any consignment of about 2,500 birds were found dead, they would be detained and samples taken to the laboratories to check for the disease, the Straits Times quoted the AVA as saying. 

Previously, consignments were held and samples taken only if 5% of birds were found dead. 

The AVA said the supply of eggs would still fall short of about 700,000 a day because only seven out of the 17 egg farms in the two states had adequate bio-security measures in place. 

AVA chief Ngiam Tong Tau said supplies should return to pre-ban level once the AVA was satisfied that all the farms had improved their safety measures, in about a month. 

In Petaling Jaya, Veterinary Services Department director-general Datuk Dr Hawari Hussein said the 95 farms were to obtain health certificates and export permit from the department before sending their consignments to Singapore. 

“Federation of Livestock Farmers Associations of Malaysia (FLFAM) and industry players should co-ordinate and facilitate matters concerning supplies and marketing,” he said in a statement yesterday. 

FLFAM president Lee Ah Fatt said farmers were elated over the good news, adding that all necessary preparations were in place to resume exports.  

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