US pet food with beef now allowed in Singapore

Learn about a 13-year-old beef ingredient restriction has been overturned in Singapore after nearly two years of discussion between the country and the U.S.

Pixabay |
Pixabay |

U.S. pet food companies can now export their products with beef and beef products to Singapore following the lifting of a 13-year-old regulation that restricted pet food containing bovine materials from the United States.

This development came after nearly two years of discussions among representatives from the Animal & Veterinary Service of Singapore (AVS), the Pet Food Institute and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Manila, the Philippines.

How the regulation came to be and discussions for the change

The regulation, which put a dent in U.S. pet food companies' ability to reach a wider pet food market in Singapore, had been in place since 2007 and was primarily based on concerns related to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease. BSE fears led the Singapore government to prevent the import of all feed and pet food containing beef ingredients from United States even though the World Organization for Animal Health had given the United States its lowest possible risk factor rating of “negligible” for BSE since 2013.

For 20 months, APHIS engaged in multiple information exchanges and discussions with Singapore regulators to convince them to remove the market access ban on U.S. pet food with bovine materials by addressing specified risk materials and health certificate considerations. In April 2020, Singapore's AVS finally relented and lifted the restriction, therefore allowing U.S. pet food companies to export a much broader variety of products to Singaporean pet owners.

New rules for allowances

All import of pet food, including rawhide and other types of dog chews containing meat or meat products such as beef, lamb, chicken, meat, bone meal and other animal-derived ingredients, requires approval from AVS before they can be imported into Singapore. Pet food importers must accompany their consignments with a health certificate from the veterinary administration of the exporting country.

Meanwhile, individuals traveling to Singapore with no import permit from AVS can only bring in limited amounts of hand-carried pet food containing meat and products from approved sources or countries. A traveler can bring in up to five bags of dry pet food (up to 20kg maximum in combined weight) and/or up to five cans or pouches of wet pet food (up to 5kg in combined weight).

The pet food sector in Singapore is a growing industry, and total 2019 imports reached US$49 million, up from US$44 million in 2018.

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