Thursday, October 13, 2011

4,000 bird’s nest ranches in S’wak yet to register with Veterinary Dept

Posted on September 29, 2011, Thursday
THESE ARE THE FACTS: Chia briefing the swiftlet ranchers and EBN traders in Miri.
MIRI: There is an estimated 4,404 bird’s nest farm houses in Sarawak where swiftlets can choose to nest.
Of the number, 4,000 ranches, including about 400 in Miri, have yet to be registered with the Veterinary Department in Putrajaya.

Quoting statistics from the Forestry Department, the assistant director of Veterinary Department, Sarawak Dr Chia Pek Chin said so far only 404 had licences to operate their farms, while 21 others had licences to process the birds’ nests for both the local and export market while two others complied with the minimal Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

He said it was important that all ranchers, whether they operate at the farm or cave levels, processors, traders and retailers of birdnests to register with the Veterinary Department so as to ensure that their companies’ names are listed in the national data.

“Without their names listed in the national data, their products sent for exports risk being rejected by the importing countries who may doubt the quality and safety of their products.” “This was what happened when China rejected imports of birdnest products from Malaysia, including from Sarawak recently, due to among others, a high content of nitrate,” he said.

Chia told reporters this yesterday after a briefing and dialogue session with some 60 swiflet ranchers and edible-birdnest (EBN) traders and members of the pro tem Miri Birdnest Association (MBA). Among those present were the Miri Divisional Veterinary officer Dr Sajem Jinim and the pro tem chairman and secretary of BMA namely, Lim Poh Meng and Loh Ming Hua respectively.

Chia pointed out that it was also found that some dealers and processors of birdnest in Sarawak failed to comply with GMP and also Good Animal Husbandry Practice. “Kindly comply with the relevant regulations for your own good and also the country’s. Avoid using ammonia, chlorine or other forms of chemical that could cause deterioration in the quality of your products that will render them to be rejected by the buyers,” he urged.

Sarawak exported some eleven tonnes of birdnest products last year to China, Singapore and Hongkong.
Meanwhile, Chia said those wanting to register their ventures for birdnest, especially the processors, must do so promptly. They should obtain the application forms from the nearest divisional veterinary who will forward their application to the headquarters in Putrajaya.

For Miri, the Veterinary Office is located at Kilometre 41/2 Miri/Pujut Road and the contact number is 085-411866. Registration is free but those with processing plants have to pay RM200 per  year and the licence is subjected to review on a yearly basis.

Those wanting to test their birdnest products for nitrate can also obtain free test from the Medical Department.  However, samples of their products have to be sent to the Veterinary Department who will forward the samples to the Medical Department.

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