SINGAPORE – The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has on Sunday refuted an Indonesian media report that Singapore is “ready” to import pig carcasses from Bulan Island, Batam, where African swine fever (ASF) had been detected.
The Antara report, published on Saturday, cited the director-general for animal husbandry and health at Indonesia’s Agriculture Ministry, Dr Nasrullah, as saying that SFA had “expressed their readiness to import pig carcasses”, following a virtual meeting between the Singapore agency and Indonesia’s National Veterinary Authority in April.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, SFA said “Singapore does not allow the import of carcasses or slaughtered animals which are diseased”, and it has not received or approved any application from Indonesian abattoirs for the export of pig carcasses and pork to Singapore.
“The Singapore authorities would only consider such applications once the ASF issue has been resolved,” SFA added.
The Singapore agency highlighted that meat and meat products can be imported into Singapore only from accredited sources that comply with the country’s requirements.
“Singapore’s import conditions for pigs, pork and pork products are based on science, and take reference from guidelines and standards from the World Organisation for Animal Health,” said SFA.
When contacted for more information, SFA referred The Straits Times to its Facebook statement.
Virtual meeting to discuss ASF investigation
The Antara report had referenced a virtual meeting between the National Veterinary Authority and SFA on April 28, when they discussed an investigation on ASF being found in pigs from farms in Bulan Island that had been exported.
According to the report, Dr Nasrullah said that although the export of live pigs from Bulan Island is temporarily suspended due to ASF, it is still possible to export pig carcasses.
He was also cited as saying that it is also possible to export live pigs after testing their health.
Dr Nasrullah also reportedly said that Singapore is open to discussing technical measures on live pig exports.
Earlier in April, a consignment of live pigs sent to Singapore from a farm on Bulan Island was confirmed to have been infected with the ASF virus after the animals were slaughtered for food at an abattoir in Jurong.
This was the first time ASF had been detected in pigs imported into Singapore.
SFA then stopped the import of live pigs from Bulan Island, which accounts for about 15 per cent of Singapore’s total pork supply. This makes up about two-thirds of Singapore’s supply of freshly slaughtered pork.
Due to the disruption, SFA said in April that it will work with partners in the industry to increase the availability of chilled and frozen pork from other sources.
ASF – a typically fatal and highly contagious disease endemic to sub-Saharan Africa – spread to the Asia-Pacific region in 2018. It has led to the culling of millions of pigs to curb its spread.
The disease, which has a mortality rate of more than 90 per cent, affects both domestic and wild pigs. It cannot be transmitted to humans.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.