This comes in the light of the Brazil meat scandal, where meat inspectors there were found to have approved tainted meat for consumption.
There were fears that Singaporeans could have been consuming tainted meat, as 70 percent of our poultry is imported from Brazil, and so too a significant portion of pork imports.
Said the AVA:
“The Brazil Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply has placed 21 meat processing establishments under a special surveillance regime (of which 3 are suspended), following an investigation involving meat exporters in Brazil.
We would like to assure the public that Singapore does not import any meat from these establishments, and that they are not approved to export meat to Singapore.
Nonetheless, we are monitoring the situation closely, and have stepped up surveillance of imported meat and meat products from Brazil.”
The AVA also outlined the stringent process of checks which it has in place to ensure food safety:
“Meat and meat products can only be imported into Singapore from AVA accredited sources. The accreditation process involves two levels of checks. AVA will 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. If the country is approved as a source of meat supply, each meat establishment within the country will then be individually evaluated to ensure that they meet AVA’s food safety requirements, before meat processed by that establishment can be exported to Singapore.
Upon arrival in Singapore, every meat consignment is physically checked for spoilage and the health certification verified at the point of import. In addition, samples are 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 label). Products that fail our tests will not be allowed to be sold. To date, there have not been any significant instances of non-compliance in meat shipments from Brazil.”