AVA steps up monitoring and surveillance of bird flu

SINGAPORE - In a statement to the media, the AVA said that no poultry from China has been allowed for import since 2004, when bird flu first emerged in the region.

Only processed poultry products, which have been heat-treated to eliminate bird flu virus, are allowed from accredited establishments in mainland China.

To ensure food safety, AVA regularly checks and samples imported poultry and eggs at points of entry to verify that supply farms are free from bird flu as well as to ensure that they are safe for consumption.

Ornamental birds can only be imported from bird flu-free countries, and must undergo a 21- day pre-export isolation in the country of export.

The birds must be tested to be free from bird flu before import and on arrival here, they are checked again for clinical signs of diseases.

Locally, poultry farms and slaughterhouses, and ornamental bird farms are also closely monitored.

These farms are required to ensure that biosecurity measures, such as disinfection and birdproofing of bird sheds, are in place.

And as an added precaution, members of the public are not allowed to visit local poultry farms.

Regular checks are also made at all pet shops selling birds and during these inspections, samples are taken to test for bird flu.

As for wild birds in the wetlands reserves, such as Pulau Ubin and Sungei Buloh, and public parks, samples are collected to test for bird flu.

Singapore is currently free from bird flu H7N9 and AVA has precautionary measures in place to keep the disease out of the country.

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