SINGAPORE — Singapore has suspended the importation of live pigs from Indonesia’s Pulau Bulan Island following the detection of African swine fever in several pig carcasses.
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) confirmed the incident on Thursday (20 Apr) and stated that the affected carcasses have been removed from the abattoir’s production line.
The SFA has put a temporary halt to imports while investigations continue. Consequently, there will be temporary disruptions to the supply of freshly slaughtered pork starting from April 23.
The SFA is collaborating with the abattoir to sanitize the facility and its surroundings after completing the slaughter of pigs currently present there, as well as to maintain biosecurity measures.
The agency assures the public that pork in Singapore remains safe for consumption, as African swine fever does not pose a risk to humans and is not a food safety concern. Pigs that are healthy and have passed SFA inspections are safe to consume.
SFA and the Animal & Veterinary Service will continue to closely monitor the situation.
The agency requires regions exporting raw pork to Singapore to be free of the disease, as raw meat from infected pigs can potentially transmit the virus.
Processed pork products from approved establishments in affected areas are allowed for import and sale, provided they have undergone heat treatment to inactivate the virus. Singapore’s import conditions align with the guidelines and standards from the World Organisation for Animal Health.
Pulau Bulan’s live pigs account for approximately 15% of Singapore’s total pork supply.
The SFA highlights that Singapore’s pork supply is well diversified, with over 20 sources including live pigs from Sarawak and chilled or frozen pork from countries such as Australia, Brazil, Denmark, and New Zealand. The agency plans to work with the industry to increase chilled and frozen pork imports from other sources.
SFA highlighted the importance of diversification as a crucial food security strategy for Singapore. It reduces the impact of disruptions from any single source by allowing importers to quickly turn to alternative sources to stabilize the nation’s food supply, said the agency.
The SFA encourages consumers to be flexible and adaptable in their choice of food, opting for a variety of food types from different sources, including other meat forms like frozen or chilled pork or alternative protein options.
The agency emphasized that responsible purchasing and avoiding hoarding will ensure ample supplies for everyone.