KUCHING, May 17 — The Sarawak Veterinary Services Department (VSD) today said it will continue to ensure that milk and milk products imported into the state from Peninsular Malaysia and other countries meet the requirements of the import permit.
Director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud explained that the importation of fresh milk into Sarawak is governed by the Regulations for Importation of a veterinary import permit issued by the department.
He said the documents required for the importation of milk or milk products are the Certificate of Freedom of Country or State from Disease and Veterinary Health Certificate attesting that the milk and milk products are free from tuberculosis.
He said all the necessary precautions must also be taken after processing to avoid contact of the products with any potential sources of FMD virus.
“The restrictions, however, do not apply to the following dairy products such as UHT, yoghurt, milk powder, cheese, butter, cream, ice-cream containing milk, and condensed milk,” he said when clarifying a statement by Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen yesterday.
Chong, who is also the Stampin MP, urged the state government to prohibit the importation of fresh milk into the state in view of the occurrences of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Peninsular Malaysia and other countries.
Chong had said fresh milk products that were imported or produced in Peninsular Malaysia were still found in some markets in Sarawak, despite the circular issued by the VSD early this year.
He also suggested that the state’s poultry industry might be seriously affected if the importation of milk and milk products from FMD-affected were allowed into Sarawak.
Dr Adrian clarified that FMD only affects all cloven-hoof animals such as cattle, buffalo, pigs, goats, sheep, deer and other ungulates.
“FMD does not affect poultry and human. It is different from the Hand-Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD) caused by Coxsackievirus,” he said.
He assured that the VSD is fully committed to maintaining the state’s FMD-free status granted by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in May 2004.
However, Dr Adrian said the department will investigate Chong’s allegation and will take necessary action on the milk products to ensure that Sarawak remains FMD free.