SIBU: Sarawak still allows the importation of fresh milk from Australia and New Zealand but for ultra-high temperature processing (UHT).
Assistant Minister of Agriculture Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail made this clarification in response to The Borneo Post’s article on Feb 12 titled ‘Dept suspends fresh milk imports to safeguard Sarawak’s FMD-free status’.
According to the article, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak has suspended the import of fresh milk, including flavoured fresh milk, into the state until further notice.
This was announced in a notice dated Feb 4 to all importers of liquid milk.
On this, Dr Abdul Rahman said: “As for the products imported before suspension, we will not remove them. Public need not be unduly alarmed as consumption of milk is safe.”
Asked if fresh milk from Peninsular Malaysia can still be imported into Sarawak, the Bukit Kota assemblyman said: “Importers are required to write to DVS Sarawak with supporting document for risk analysis.”
As quoted by The Borneo Post the notice said: “This suspension is necessary to regulate the importation of fresh milk to ascertain the origin of the milk as well as the disease status of exporting countries.
“Milk sourced from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)-free countries and reprocessed in a state or a country with FMD is not allowed to be imported into Sarawak.”
The notice further pointed out that Sarawak has been free from FMD since 2004, and that every effort needs to be made to maintain this status.
The department also advised those with further enquiries to write to the director with necessary supporting documents.