Singapore

AVA holds first bird flu drill at poultry slaughterhouse

Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Workers going through the emergency preparedness exercise at Soonly Food Processing Industries, one of 14 poultry slaughterhouses here. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Photo: Ooi Boon Keong
Published: 4:02 AM, July 18, 2013

SINGAPORE — The Republic may be free of bird flu but it cannot let down its guard against an outbreak here. That was the message from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) as it held an exercise at a slaughterhouse yesterday for the first time.

At Soonly Food Processing Industries, one of 14 poultry slaughterhouses here, workers went through drills that would kick in during an outbreak.

Their health was assessed before they started work with their temperature being taken. Those with fever were not allowed direct contact with chickens.

They would also require extra protection during an emergency. Slaughterhouse workers, who don masks and gloves on normal days, have to wear extra protective gear, including goggles, hair nets and double-layered gloves.

As for culled birds, the carcasses are packed into biohazard bags and sent for incineration. Vehicles and equipment that come in contact with the chickens are decontaminated.

The exercise was the AVA’s seventh since 2002. The authority said it would continue working with various agencies to improve its contingency plans. Leong Wai Kit