Can you bring bak kwa in from Malaysia? AVA and ICA issue advisory on food import ahead of Chinese New Year

Bak kwa is considered a pork product and can be imported only from approved regions.
Bak kwa is considered a pork product and can be imported only from approved regions.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

SINGAPORE - Planning to buy bak kwa from Malaysia for Chinese New Year?

Think twice - you may be breaking the law.

The barbecued sweet meat is on the list of items travellers are barred from bringing into Singapore.

With Chinese New Year approaching, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) issued a joint advisory on Tuesday (Jan 19) reminding travellers to check the guidelines on the importation of items.

Bak kwa is considered a pork product and can be imported only from approved regions including Australia, Japan, United States and a number of European countries.

  • What you can bring

  • Processed food products: Max 5kg or 5 litres; total value not exceeding $100 per person
  • Fruits and vegetables: Small amount for personal consumption, from all countries except those in American Tropics e.g. Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador.
    A phytosanitary certificate to certify that the produce is pest-free is required for these countries.
  • Beef: Max 5kg from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Uruguay, US

  • Pork: Max 5kg from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US

  • Poultry: Max 5kg from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, US

  • Seafood products: Max 5kg, out of which only 2 kg of frozen cooked crabmeat and frozen cooked prawn meat is allowed

  • Live or frozen oysters: Only from Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, UK, US

  • What you can't bring

  • Pork products from Malaysia and other South-east Asian countries, including bak kwa and canned luncheon meat.
    Pork products can be imported only from approved regions including Australia, Japan, US and some European countries

  • Eggs from Malaysia or other countries except for Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. Each person limited to 30 eggs for allowed countries

  • SOURCE: AVA

Pork from Malaysia, and all other South-east Asian countries, is not allowed even for personal consumption.

Another prohibited food is fresh chicken eggs from Malaysia. Eggs from a few countries, including New Zealand, are allowed but limited to 30 per person.

Other goodies such as love letters and pineapple tarts are allowed, but limited to 5kg, or $100 per person, according to food import guidelines.

In general, travellers are allowed to bring in a maximum of 5kg or 5 litres of processed food products, and the total value of these products cannot exceed $100 per person.

Processed food includes all food that are not meat products, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, and eggs.

As for items like abalone and sea cucumber, these are seafood products. With the exception of live or frozen oysters, traveller can bring them in from all countries, but the quantity is capped at 5kg per person.

According to AVA guidelines, these food stuff should be for personal consumption only.

Travellers should check the guidelines on the import of items to avoid inconveniences at the checkpoints, the ICA and AVA said.

More information can be found at the AVA website and mobile app - Sg Travelkaki. The free app can be downloaded from iTunes and the Google Play Store.

The restrictions are for health and safety reasons, AVA said.

Travellers can also visit the ICA website at www.ica.gov.sg to check on the list of prohibited, controlled goods, and items subject to duty.

Travellers are also required to make an accurate and complete declaration of any controlled or dutiable items to officers at the red channels or the forward checks areas at the land checkpoints.

Those who fail to make an accurate and complete declaration will be referred for further checks, and this may hold up immigration clearance for all travellers.

The authorities said: "We seek travellers' understanding and cooperation when using the checkpoints during the festive periods."