The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has announced that Singapore does not import any meat from suspended meat processing establishments in Brazil as none of them is approved to export to Singapore.
Arising from an investigation into possible corruption involving major meat exporters, the Brazil Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply said it had placed 21 meat processing establishments under a special surveillance regime, of which three had been suspended.
AVA said that meat and meat products could only be imported into Singapore from its accredited sources, noting that the accreditation process involved two levels of checks. AVA would first assess the robustness of an exporting country’s national animal health and food safety system and the authorities’ powers to enforce food safety requirements, such as minimizing microbial contamination and chemical residues.
AVA said that if a country was approved as a source of meat supply, each meat establishment within that country would then be individually evaluated to ensure that they met AVA’s food safety requirements, before meat processed by that establishment could be exported to Singapore.
Upon arrival in Singapore, every consignment is physically checked for spoilage and the health certification verified at the point of import.
In addition, it noted that samples were also taken for laboratory testing. Tests are conducted for a variety of food safety hazards (such as chemical residues, antibiotics and microbial pathogens), as well as authenticity to deter fraud (e.g. to ensure that the meat species match the species declared on the label).
AVA stressed that products that failed the tests would not be allowed for sale.
“To date, there have not been any significant instances of non-compliance in meat shipments from Brazil,” AVA said.
AVA stated that it had stepped up surveillance of imported meat and meat products from Brazil.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and have been liaising with the Brazilian authorities to get more details. AVA is also working with our meat importers to monitor the situation and to be prepared to ramp up alternative sources, if necessary,” the Authority added.