Quarantine cracks down on meat from Singapore
BATAM Quarantine officials have signalled that the days of hand carrying meats from suppliers and stores in Singapore are over.
Customs and quarantine officials at Harbour Bay ferry terminal last week halted staff of Smiling Hill hand carrying approximately 40 kilos of ham, bacon and steaks and quarantine
officials from Batam Centre subsequently confiscated the lot.
The meats were all in vacuum-packed plastic wrapping and the total value was in excess of SGD$1,000.
“We were taken by complete surprise,” said Smiling Hill Pres-dent Director Doug Cole. “Like many other small businesses and expat residents, we have been regularly hand carrying meat pro-ducts, especially ham and bacon, from Singapore to Batam for around two years.
“On a couple of occasions, Customs officials queried us but when we explained that we were bringing products that were hard or virtually impossible to get in Batam, and
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showed that they were all properly and professionally packed, they permitted us to pass.
“This time, we were required to wait until the Batam Centre officials arrived – about an hour and a half – and they promptly took the lot.
“We were subsequently told that this policy would be applied for all people bringing animal products from Singapore, so all we can do is give a heads up to the rest of the expat community.”
Smiling Hill efforts to have the meats released failed, with a senior Quarantine officer at Batam Centre saying it would be destroyed. The official said that under legislation promulgated in September 2011, and subsequent regulations, all meats imported to Batam and Indonesia, in general, had to originate from either Australia or New Zealand.
The meats must be transported in refrigerated containers, must be imported only by companies with current import licences issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, and must have quarantine certificates from the originating country provided by the shippers. They also must be certified as having been slaughtered and handled according to Hal Lal requirements.
No animal products were permitted to be imported from Singapore because Singapore did not allow animal products from Indonesia and could impose jail sentences on Indonesians attempting to do so.
The official was very keen to provide details and addresses of wholesale companies currently importing meats to Batam, suggesting they could supply all of Smiling Hill’s requirements. Of course, these companies supply neither ham nor bacon, and expats who have traded with them know their limitations on quality and supply continuity.
THE BATAM administrative region will cull chickens in locations within a 1-kilometer radius from areas with recorded bird flu cases in an attempt to prevent the spread of the bird flu virus to humans.
Bird flu, or avian influenza, has spread rapidly in Batam. In less than a month, a total of 2,070 chickens died in two Batam sub-districts; Air Raja sub-district in Bulang district and Tanjung Riau sub-district in Sekupang district. The chickens tested positive for the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, Batam’s maritime, fisheries, agriculture and forestry affairs department (KP2K) confirmed.
KP2K chief Suhartini said chickens had been dying in the two sub-districts since the beginning of January.
“Hundreds more chickens from other sub-districts also died, possibly from bird flu. But local residents did not report the cases to us,” said Suhartini.
The Batam administration plans to take necessary preventative measures to address the spread of the viruses. The two sub-districts in question will be isolated and the authorities will spray disinfectants around resident settlements and chicken coops in the areas.
The KP2K also warned the poultry breeders from those two sub-districts to not sell their chickens and people have been warned to not consume chickens from the areas.
Goodies Restaurant at Smiling Hill was the focal point for Batam couples celebrating Valentine’s Day .