Singapore Considers Allowing Roast Meats Import From Hong Kong

FILE PHOTO: A man handles meat as he works at a butcher shop in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 31, 2018. Picture taken August 31, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/File Photo)

Singaporeans who have been craving for the roasted goose and other roasted meats may soon have their wish as the government is currently reviewing its import rules regarding roasted meat products. This was confirmed by Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat through a Facebook post on Monday.

The import rules are under review by Singapore's Pro-Enterprise Panel or PEP and the country's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority. While the rules are still under review, authorities are asking for time in order to "ensure food safety and other health considerations are taken care of." Regardless, some observers have noted that the important thing is that the review reflects Singapore's commitment to its import rules and regulations.

Pro-Enterprise Division in the Trade and Industry Ministry director Eugene Toh said that the review is just part of broader efforts by the institution to "ensure that our rules and regulations are agile and pro-business."

In order to make sure that the review covers all concerns and stakeholders, the panel is accepting feedback regarding the country's regulatory framework and suggestions on how to improve it without sacrificing its relevance. One of the rules that have been reviewed and eventually removed was the submission of an audited statement from smaller companies with an annual sales turnover of less than $5 million.

Regarding the import of poultry products, including cooked and processed goods, the AVA rules only allow important from 14 bird flu-free countries. This exclusive list includes Canada, Argentina, and New Zealand. Hong Kong, unfortunately, is not part of this list.

Because of this regulatory ban, travelers are only allowed to bring up to 5kg of meat products into the country, provided that they were purchased or acquired from approved sources. Violators of the said rule may receive a warning, fined, or to some degree, prosecuted. It is important to note that these violations are considered criminal in nature.

The reason why Singapore only allows meat imports from farms and sources approved by the AVA is to make sure that these products are not contaminated with food-borne diseases. In order to make sure that proper standards are followed, imported foods, even from accredited sources, are still subjected to specific requirements, inspection, routine surveillance, and sampling.

Singaporeans, especially those in the food industry, are jubilant about the upcoming changes. Some of them even went as far as regularly traveling to Hong Kong just to satisfy their craving for a roasted goose and other roasted products.

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