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The resumption of live pigs exports from Pulau Bulan, Indonesia could take up to a year.
Exports stopped after African Swine Fever detected
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) halted the import of live pigs from Pulau Bulan, Indonesia in April 2023.
This came after African Swine Fever (ASF) was detected in the carcasses of a consignment of pigs.
Reuters cited the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), who said on May 9 that an ASF outbreak on a farm on Pulau Bulan has been confirmed, according to Indonesian authorities.
The ASF outbreak, which was detected and confirmed on Apr. 1, 2023 and Apr. 28, 2023 respectively, had killed 35,297 pigs in a herd of 285,034 in the Pulau Bulan farm.
ASF not dangerous to humans
ASF is not dangerous to humans, but it is fatal for pigs.
It has plagued China for years, where millions of pigs were killed during the initial wave in 2018 and 2019.
This led to a dramatic decline in meat output that roiled global markets.
While China is facing a surge in infections in 2023, the source of the Indonesian outbreak is still unknown.
However, veterinarian authorities told WOAH that humans, vehicles, feed, flies and wild boar may have played an important role in the introduction of ASF on the farm.
Frozen pork stock sufficient and can last for months
SFA said in its May 9. 2023 Facebook post that such food supply disruptions could happen from time to time, adding that it will continue to work with the industry to diversify import sources and strengthen Singapore's food resilience.
This includes the importation of chilled pork from Mexico Singapore, which was approved recently.
Meat Traders' Association Singapore's (MTAS) President Alvin Kwek said in a May 9, 2023 press release that its members have activated "more than 20 sources" of chilled and frozen pork from different countries.
They have sufficient stock of frozen pork to last for "months" should the supply chain for pork be disrupted, according to Kwek.
Public encouraged to be flexible and adaptable
"We urge industry players and consumers alike to be open to alternative supply sources and remain flexible by considering using chilled or frozen pork from alternative sources," Kwek said.
In the meantime, the public is encouraged to be flexible and adaptable to build Singapore’s food resilience.
"We encourage the food industry to remain resilient by diversifying their supply sources and adopting Business Continuity Plans. Consumers too, can play a part by choosing alternatives such as frozen or chilled pork, or other protein options."
SFA said the Singapore authorities will continue to assess the situation.
Top image from Singapore Food Agency/Facebook
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