Singapore looks to Philippines, Chile to diversify food supply

Business Materials 7 February 2008 04:25 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- Disease outbreaks have prompted agricultural authorities in Singapore to consider buying pork from Chile and the Philippines to diversify the city-state's food supply, news reports said on Thursday.

"We believe in taking no chances," The Straits Times quoted Agri - Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) spokesman Goh Shih Yong as saying. "Food safety is of paramount importance."

Taiwan recently received approval to export frozen duck to Singapore, and Brazil has passed Malaysia as the top supplier of poultry, providing for half of Singapore's needs.

Recent outbreaks of avian flu, along with the wide-ranging fallout of climate change, have convinced the AVA to look further afield for food supplies, Goh said.

The export of frozen raw chicken from Thailand and China was suspended in 2006 because of a bird flu outbreak.

The AVA is also looking beyond traditional sources of vegetables such as Malaysia and China. The supply now also comes from Vietnam and Indonesia.

Diversification has kept food prices stable, a key concern with crop shortages worldwide.

Singapore is obtaining seafood from Namibia with frozen fish and frozen oysters arriving since last year, the report said.

"High-risk items such as shellfish are required to meet additional stringent requirements like health certification and import testing," Goh said.