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Singapore suspends poultry imports from Japan and Several European countries in light of bird flu outbreaks

Singapore halts poultry imports from Japan and Europe amid bird flu outbreaks, enforcing stringent measures to secure food supply and prevent avian influenza transmission.

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SINGAPORE – In response to recent bird flu outbreaks in Japan and several European countries, Singapore has temporarily suspended the import of raw poultry and poultry products from specific regions.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) issued circulars on last Friday (8 Dec), notifying meat and egg traders of the immediate restrictions.

Japanese Poultry Ban

The temporary ban specifically targets raw poultry imports from four prefectures in Japan, namely Saga and Kagoshima in the Kyushu region, and Ibaraki and Saitama in the Kanto region. The ban was implemented between 25 November and 3 December following the detection of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus at poultry farms in Saga and Ibaraki.

Japan reported its first case of HPAI this season on November 24, originating from a poultry farm in Saga. Subsequently, on 27 November, another case was identified in the eastern prefecture of Ibaraki. These incidents come on the heels of Japan’s worst bird flu outbreak during the previous season, which commenced in October 2022.

During the last outbreak, a staggering 17.7 million poultry birds were culled, leading to a significant reduction in poultry and egg supplies. The widespread culling also resulted in a surge in prices, with local governments and farmers grappling with the challenge of finding suitable land for the disposal of a large number of culled chickens.

Global Concerns and Additional Restrictions

The bird flu concerns extend beyond Japan, with other countries such as the United States, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany reporting recent HPAI outbreaks.

In response, Singapore has extended its temporary poultry import restrictions to these countries as well, as indicated in additional circulars from the SFA.

SFA emphasized its commitment to working with various stakeholders in the food industry to diversify sources of commonly consumed food, including chicken. It noted that this proactive approach aims to mitigate the impact of disruptions from any single source, allowing importers to turn to alternative sources and maintain the stability of Singapore’s food supply.

Ensuring Poultry Safety

According to SFA data from 2022, Singapore approved 30 countries as sources of poultry, including chicken, duck, turkey, goose, and quail. Brazil, Malaysia, and the United States top the list as Singapore’s main sources of chicken.

As part of this accreditation, SFA monitors global outbreaks of HPAI and will take swift measures to suspend affected sources. The agency also conducts inspections of local poultry farms and slaughterhouses, imposing biosecurity measures to prevent contact between wild birds and poultry flocks. Imported live poultry and local farm poultry undergo regular testing for avian influenza.

Minimizing Risks and World Health Organization’s Statement

While the World Health Organization (WHO) Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has stated that the risk of transmission to humans is low, precautionary measures are recommended. People are advised not to touch dead or sick wild animals.

To minimize the risk of contracting bird flu, SFA advises consumers to cook poultry thoroughly, wash hands with soap after handling raw poultry products, and avoid contact with wild birds and live poultry when overseas.

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Should have bird flu jab mah .

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