SINGAPORE: The first shipment of live pigs from Malaysia in 18 years arrived in Singapore on Saturday (Nov 18), said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).
Imports of live pigs and raw pork from Malaysia were suspended in 1999 due to a Nipah virus outbreak. Since then, Singapore's only source of live pigs has been from Pulau Bulan in Indonesia.
Even though there have been no reports of new Nipah virus outbreaks in Malaysia, the import suspension stayed because of Foot Mouth Disease (FMD).
However, Sarawak in East Malaysia was declared free of FMD in 2010 by the World Organisation for Animal Health.
AVA then approved frozen pork from Sarawak in 2015 and earlier this year, it gave the go-ahead for live pigs from a farm in the state.
"The import of raw pork from other parts of Malaysia is not permitted as they are not free of FMD," said AVA. "Only processed pork products from approved establishments in Malaysia that have been heat-treated to inactivate FMD are allowed to be imported from Malaysia."
Singapore's pork supply comes from 24 countries that have been accredited by the AVA to export frozen pork products. Six countries, including Australia, the US and Canada, are allowed to export chilled pork to Singapore.
With the approval of imports from Sarawak, Singapore now has two sources of live pigs. They are slaughtered locally and sold as chilled pork, said AVA.
"Source diversification is a key food security strategy. Purchasing from diverse sources provides a crucial buffer against potential short-term overseas food supply disruptions from any one source," it added.