KUCHING: The suspension on the import of fresh milk recently announced by the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak does not include ultra-heat treatment (UHT) milk and yogurt drinks.
This was clarified by Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas after meeting a Sarawakian importer of liquid milk at his office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya yesterday.
“The announcement on the suspension of imported fresh milk does not affect UHT milk and yogurt drinks,” he said when met by journalists after the meeting.
Among those present were permanent secretary to Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, state DVS director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud and Farm Fresh master stockist Alex Kho.
Uggah said the suspension on fresh milk is a move to maintain Sarawak as a state free of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).
He said liquid milk importers in Sarawak who need to bring in fresh milk from outside the state must submit necessary documents to the state DVS.
He added that there are standard operating procedures (SOPs) to comply with in line with protecting Sarawak from FMD.
“At the moment, Sarawak is free from FMD. The suspension is one of our precautions.”
According to Uggah, the suspension is strictly on pasteurised milk, which is generally known as fresh milk.
In Sarawak alone, there are a little over 10 liquid milk importers.
Four of them are presently being affected by the suspension announced by the state DVS.
Asked when the suspension would be lifted, Uggah said: “We will let you know.”
Kho said there are 50 various types of products under Farm Fresh, Johor-based brand.
He said Farm Fresh could not be more pleased with the Sarawak government having cleared its UHT milk and yogurt drinks from the suspension.
“It is good news for us. As for our pasteurised milk, we have submitted the necessary documents to DVS Sarawak for approval.”
According to Kho, Farm Fresh pasteurised milk or fresh milk is still available across Sarawak for the time being because those stocks were brought in before the suspension took effect.
He said there were 163 Farm Fresh dealers across the state.
It is learnt that Farm Fresh fresh milk will continue be sold in the local market once the
state DVS vets the submitted documents and grants the green light.
On Monday, a notice on the suspension from the state DVS to all importers of liquid milk was made available to the press.
The notice dated Feb 4, 2019 was undersigned by Dr Adrian.
“Milk sourced from FMD free countries and reprocessed in a state or a country with FMD is not allowed to be imported into Sarawak,” said the notice.
The department also advised those with further inquiries to write to the director with necessary supporting documents.