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Friday, September 4, 2009

H1N1 detected in live pigs imported into Singapore - Yahoo

SINGAPORE: The Agri—Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has detected the pandemic A(H1N1) virus in some pigs imported into Singapore from Indonesia’s Pulau Bulan.

But the AVA stressed that the pork available here is safe for consumption, as the H1N1 virus is not transmitted through the handling and consumption of pork and pork products including ham, bacon, sausages and canned pork.

AVA added it will step up its monitoring and inspection to ensure food safety, like increasing the number of daily pork samples taken for tests from 30 to 100.

It will also take part in a comprehensive disease surveillance programme on the Pulau Bulan farm, led by the Indonesian authorities. The aim is to identify and isolate affected pig houses.

AVA’s director—general, Dr Chew Siang Thai, said: "AVA is now working closely with the Indonesian authorities and the farm management to ensure that clinically healthy pigs are exported to Singapore.

"And these pigs, when they are in the abattoir, are also subjected to a series of inspections that ensure that safe pork get released into the market."

Restricted animal movement will also be imposed to ensure only healthy pigs are exported to Singapore. The AVA said this is in line with the World Organization for Animal Health’s recommendation.

Meanwhile, steps have also been taken to make sure that everyone is safe.

Dr Chew said: "The workers have already been putting on protective gear, masks and have been practising good hygiene procedures to avoid getting any potential infection."

Suppliers have been informed of the steps being taken so that they too can play their part by enhancing measures and ensuring everybody complies with the requirements.

AVA said that Singapore has adequate sources of pork supplies from 25 countries.

Singapore’s import of 1,000 pigs daily from Pulau Bulan constitutes some 20 per cent of the total pork consumed here.

— CNA/ir


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