Veterinary Services Dept reviewing dairy imports after avian influenza reports, says Mat Sabu

Photo: Bernama

SERDANG: The Veterinary Services Department is currently reviewing the import of dairy products following reported avian influenza cases involving dairy cattle herds in the United States, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu.

The Agriculture and Food Security Minister said the department would review any reported incidents involving dairy products from the US, Netherlands, and Australia.

“If they do not have any issues, then there is no problem for the products to be brought into Malaysia.

"The Veterinary Services Department, on behalf of the ministry, has always been very meticulous, and people might deem them to be too strict. But this is important as issues of safety, security, and (food) health need to be taken into account.

"That is why in any areas with reports of flu or any other virus, the DVS will take swift action and advise the ministry on whether such areas or countries can import goods such as livestock. They are always proactive," he said in a press conference after launching the Malaysian Agriculture, Horticulture and Agro Tourism Exhibition (Maha) 2024 on Monday (June 10).

On May 19, Singapore cleared dairy products from the United States as safe to consume, despite the highly contagious H5N1 bird flu strain spreading among dairy cows in the country since late March.

In March, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the detection of bird flu, also known as highly pathogenic avian influenza, in dairy cattle herds in New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, and Michigan. The virus was detected in samples of unpasteurised milk from older, sick lactating cows.

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