Going up: Canned pork

Singapore November 30th, 2007

Due to the recent destruction of all tainted canned pork, the lack of supply has caused an increase in prices of canned pork luncheon meat. Hmm… this explains why I had been getting ham instead of luncheon meat in my bread recently.

THE prices of China-made pork products have soared following the now severe shortage in supplies.

Retailing at about $2.90 just last week, a can of Shanghai Maling B2 pork luncheon meat now sells for up to $3.50.

The current shortage began in August, when the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) rejected and destroyed a consignment of canned pork products from two food processing plants in China.

In these products, the AVA had found traces of nitrofurans, a banned antibiotic fed to pigs to treat illnesses.

It suspended all canned pork imports from the factories, which produce the two most popular brands here, Maling and Gulong.

The other six Chinese factories still on the AVA’s approved list have played it safe by not selling to Singapore at all, in case their canned pork also gets the boot.

As the shortage continues, provision shop owners in the heartland have reported a small rush as customers try to stock up.

One of them was contractor Teo Yew Lam, 42. He was spotted buying nine cans of various pork products at a single go in a Toa Payoh provision shop yesterday.

He said: ‘I have been looking for these products for a month now, but many places tell me they’ve run out. My son and nieces enjoy having it (stewed pork) for lunch with rice. I came to check on impulse and luckily they did have some.’

Some shop owners resort to hiding the stuff for their regular customers. ‘If we display it all, buyers will take as many as they can,’ said shop owner Desmond Lim, 34.

Last year, about 7,000 tonnes of Chinese pork products were imported here. The China-made products also have the lion’s share of the market.

Supermarkets and retailers say they are trying to get more of Denmark’s Tulip brand of pork luncheon meat, now going for $2.45.

Distributors say there is no end in sight to the current impasse with the Chinese goods.

Mr Ted Ngo, the managing director of Yit Hong, which deals in Maling luncheon meat and Narcissus canned pork products, said it was ‘up to the authorities to decide’ on standards to which both sides can agree.

Meanwhile, hawkers like Madam Ang Wen Xie said they had run out of luncheon meat about three weeks ago. ‘When my customers ask for luncheon meat, I have no choice, I offer them a chicken hotdog instead.’

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 30th November 2007

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