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Poultry, egg supply safe from bird flu: AVA

The H5N1 bird flu outbreak in a village in the Malaysian state of Kelantan has not affected Singapore's poultry and egg supply, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) yesterday. The outbreak was reported on Wednesday.

The AVA said that Singapore permits poultry and eggs from disease-free zones in five Malaysian states only - Johor, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Perak.

The Star newspaper reported that Kelantan has taken measures such as setting up roadblocks, which state agriculture committee chairman Che Abdullah Mat said were set up within a 1km radius of Kampung Pulau Tebu.

The infection was reportedly limited to the village, where 15 chickens recently died.

Datuk Abdullah said: "The veterinary services department has since culled 170 avians, including chickens, ducks and birds, and destroyed 100 eggs in the affected village."

He added that the culling took place on Monday and three positive cases were recorded in the one village, but no farms were affected.

The AVA said that it has stepped up surveillance and inspections at the points where poultry enters Singapore, as of yesterday morning.

The number of inspecting officers has been increased from two to three.

Poultry typically undergoes documentary and physical checks at the Singapore border.

The AVA also said that it has told Singapore's three poultry farms to step up their security measures.

Such measures include discouraging non-essential visitors to the farms and not allowing other birds and eggs inside.

The AVA will also increase its monitoring of the Republic's 14 poultry slaughterhouses.

Under normal circumstances, the AVA inspects about a third of the slaughterhouses every day, but it will now inspect all of them daily.

At the slaughterhouses, the poultry is inspected and samples are taken to ensure compliance with Singapore's animal health and food safety requirements and standards.

The AVA tests these samples for diseases and threats, such as bird flu and chemicals.

According to a press statement, it will increase its monitoring of free-roaming chickens, although no further details were given.

These measures will remain in place while the AVA continues to monitor the situation.

Singapore imports 35 per cent of its chickens, 93 per cent of its ducks and 76 per cent of its eggs from Malaysia.

The H5N1 virus has also been detected in Cambodia in recent weeks, but The Straits Times understands that Cambodia is not approved for poultry export to Singapore.