By MAZWIN NIK ANIS
The Veterinary Services Department has recommended a temporary
suspension on the import of chicken from China after the Chinese New
Year following the avian flu outbreak there.
Department director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin said the
department felt it was necessary to make the recommendation although
the province where government-approved chicken processing plants were
situated was not affected by the outbreak.
He said reports by
the agriculture councillor at the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing stated
that there were no cases of avian or bird flu in Shandong Province
where the two plants were located.
“As a pre-emptive measure,
the department has advised the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry
Ministry to temporarily suspend the import of raw chicken products from
China until the outbreak situation has eased.
“In order to
ensure enough supply of chicken meat and products for the Chinese New
Year, the department has recommended that the temporary suspension
takes effect immediately after the celebration,” he said in a statement
Dr Abdul Aziz said the department was now developing
a local supply system of chicken cuts for manufacturing purposes in
addition to searching for alternative sources from countries free of
the avian flu.
China has reported outbreaks of avian flu in the
Provinces of Jiangsu and Hubei in December last year resulting in two
deaths. Investigations revealed that human infection was associated
with exposure to infected ducks from market places.
Aziz said the ministry had in 2006 approved two chicken processing
plants in Shandong province to export frozen de-boned chicken cuts for
processing purposes, adding that last year his department had approved
the import of 16,112 tonnes of cooked and frozen de-boned chicken meat.
(Malaysia produces about 1.1 million slaughter chickens a day, equivalent to 338,000 tonnes of chicken meat a year).
two plants are regularly inspected by my department and the Islamic
Development Department (Jakim) to ensure compliance with the Malaysia
ISO for halal and food safety.
“The Veterinary Services
Department will be organising an inspection visit to the two plants
after getting approval from the relevant regulatory authorities in
China,” he added.