KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) has agreed to temporarily allow the import of chicken eggs from foreign countries, adding that the decision will be reviewed when the domestic supply stabilises.
In a statement issued on Friday (Dec 16), MAFS said that the move was taken to overcome the egg supply shortage facing the country for the past few months.
The ministry has allowed the import of chicken eggs from India by air on Friday as a trial phase to ensure the imported eggs meet all the standards set, it said.
Tests done on the imported eggs found that the eggs are safe, free from diseases and comply with the stipulated standards for the Malaysian market.
"The tests conducted are to ensure that the people receive imported chicken eggs which are safe, clean, halal and free from all diseases while also protecting the country's livestock industry.
“All protocols and procedures set by the government have also been followed without compromise,” according to the statement.
The ministry, through the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (MAQIS) and the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), implemented controls on the entry of imported chicken eggs at the entry points through the Hold, Test and Release (HTR) examination.
This includes the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for the detection of Salmonella bacteria, Newcastle Disease virus and Avian Influenza, it said.
“The initiative to bring in chicken eggs from outside sources is not to pressure the local industry operators, but to ensure sufficient supply in the country and at competitive prices, as aspired by the unity government under the leadership of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim,” read the statement.
On Tuesday, Mr Anwar announced that the government is considering intervening at the consumer level to tackle the supply shortage of goods in the country and emphasised the government’s interest in supporting the livestock sector.
In recent months, several states in Malaysia have seen a worrying shortage of eggs.
According to a Bernama report on Thursday, the supply of chicken eggs in supermarkets and retail stores in five states, namely Perak, Penang, Kelantan, Selangor and Melaka, was seen to be depleting.
Industry players said that the shortage was largely due to poultry farms slashing production on the back of increased prices of chicken feed.
Local media previously reported that the panic buying of eggs has worsened the shortage in Kuala Lumpur which does not have egg farms like other states.
Last month, then special task force against inflation chairman Annuar Musa pointed out that the smuggling of eggs to neighbouring Thailand was also causing the supply shortage.
As a short-term solution, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Mohamad Sabu announced last Tuesday that Malaysia will import eggs to alleviate the local supply shortage.