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SINGAPORE: Following the Philippine ban on pig products from Singapore, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said on Saturday (Mar 11) that it is working with various authorities to clarify that the country’s pork products are not affected by cases of African swine fever in wild boars here.

Eighteen cases of African swine fever were recently detected in Singapore, with the first case confirmed on Feb 7.

About a month later on Mar 6, the Philippines announced a temporary ban on the import of pork products from Singapore, including pork meat, pig skin and porcine processed animal proteins.

Although Singapore is not an accredited exporter of pork products, the ban includes products that may be carried by hand through various entry points.

There are no pig farms in Singapore. 

However, the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture cited an outbreak of African swine fever at a nature park in northwest Singapore, adding that there is a need for regulatory measures to protect human and animal health.

In response to CNA’s queries, SFA said Singapore exports processed pork products. 

“Pork products manufactured in and exported from Singapore are made from imported pork, which are required to be from regions that are free from African Swine Fever (ASF),” said the agency.

“Additionally, ASF can be inactivated with sufficient heat treatment,” it added.

“Pork products that are exported from Singapore undergo heat treatment and will meet the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH)’s guidelines for ASF virus inactivation.”

SFA advised travellers to check the prevailing requirements of their destination countries when bringing food overseas.

According to Singapore’s Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS), African swine fever is endemic in Southeast Asia and spreads mainly through infected wild boars and pigs as well as contaminated materials.

The disease is not zoonotic, meaning it cannot be transmitted to humans and it is not a risk to public health, AVS said.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for African swine fever. 

“Wild boars that exhibit signs of the disease will be euthanised on welfare grounds, and carcasses found will be disposed of,” said group director at AVS Dr Chang Siow Foong.

In a report on Feb 24, the World Organisation for Animal Health said the African swine fever situation in Singapore is deemed “sufficiently stable”.