AVA has partially lifted the import ban on UK beef. Deboned beef from cattle under 30 months of age has been approved for import into Singapore.
Prior to this approval, imports of all beef and beef products from the UK had been suspended since 1996, due to the outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (also known as BSE or mad cow disease). BSE is a fatal brain disorder of cattle, and evidence shows links between the consumption of infected cattle meat and an increased risk of a brain-degenerating disease (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or vCJD) in humans.
Following AVA’s food safety risk assessment in 2013, BSE control measures in the UK were found to be consistent with safety guidelines as specified by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The UK’s application to export beef to Singapore was also thoroughly evaluated to ensure proper documentation for traceability and veterinary health certification.
Inspection at a UK beef slaughterhouse by AVA officials: From left, Dr Chew Siang Thai (Deputy CEO & Director-General for Regulatory Programmes & Operations), Dr Astrid Yeo (Group Director for Regulatory Administration & Food Establishment Regulation), and far right, Dr Leong Hon Keong (Director for Risk Assessment & Epidemiology Department).
To further determine the safety of UK beef, AVA conducted an on-site inspection in July 2013, and verified that the BSE situation in the UK is well under control. During the inspection trip, several UK beef establishments were examined to ascertain that their sanitary practices and veterinary public health standards meet AVA’s stringent requirements, and that BSE control measures are adequately implemented.
After the inspection, AVA concluded that there is negligible risk of BSE introduction from UK’s deboned beef derived from cattle under 30 months of age. As such, the ban was partially lifted after 17 years to allow imports of this category of beef product. Currently, seven beef slaughterhouse establishments that met our standards have been approved to export this category of beef product to Singapore.
Revision of Beef Import Conditions for Japan
Beef from Japan was banned in September 2001 after the first case of BSE was detected in the country. Since then, only deboned beef from cattle under 30 months old was allowed for import to Singapore.
In late 2013, following a review of Japan’s BSE case history, as well as the control measures it currently has in place, AVA ascertained that BSE control measures in Japan are consistent with OIE guidelines. It was also concluded that there is negligible risk of BSE introduction from Japan’s beef.
As such, in addition to deboned beef under 30 months old, AVA has also allowed imports of deboned and bone-in beef from cattle of all ages from Japan. Health Certificate conditions were finalised in March 2014. Besides beef cuts, the import approval for offal from Japan is currently being considered.
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Last updated on Tuesday, April 14, 2020