Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Brazilian meatpackers hit as some countries halt imports

Brazilian meatpackers hit as some countries halt imports

The BRF executive, Roney Nogueira dos Santos, was arrested along with two other employees as well as another two JBS officials. Much of the meat produced by these companies is exported to Europe and other parts of the world. Just three of those were shut down by the Ministry of Agriculture - one owned by BRF over salmonella in chicken, and two small further-processing plants owned by independent operators.

IFA president Joe Healy said the latest shocking revelations on the failure of Brazil to meet European Union standards and controls in the meat sector raises very serious concerns around European Union meat imports.

It prompted China to suspend imports from Brazil and the European Union and the seek explanations.

Trying to calm fears that tainted meat may have been exported overseas, Brazil's President Michel Temer met with a group of 33 ambassadors from major meat importing countries that the great majority of Brazil's meats is of excellent quality and that the federal government would be creating a task force to look into those meatpacking plants accused by the federal police. Both companies have denied wrongdoing.

Police detained an executive of BRF SA on Saturday, as the meat company and rival JBS SA took out full-page advertisements to burnish their image after raids to investigate alleged bribes paid to hide unsanitary conditions in Brazil's meatpacking facilities.

Brazil exports its meat to over 150 countries.

Brazil exported US$6.9 billion (S$9.64 billion) of poultry and US$5.5 billion of beef worldwide previous year, according to industry groups.

More than 80 per cent of the 107,400 tonnes of chicken that South Korea imported a year ago came from Brazil, and BRF supplied nearly half of that.

The EU "will guarantee that any of the establishments involved in the fraud will be suspended", said Brivio, who didn't cite companies by name or say how long the ban would last.

The commission noted that the scandal had no direct link to the EU's free trade talks with South American bloc Mercosur and any future deal would be supposed to meet the EU's high regulatory requirements and food safety standards.

Meanwhile, Brazil has tried to reassure the world that its huge meat industry poses no threat.

The president says Friday's raids on premises were isolated.

In Temer's address to the ambassadors (only 19 out of 33 took him up on the invitation), the President acknowledged that the scandal had caused "major concern".

Temer said his government is confident of the quality of Brazilian meat.

He acknowledged, however, that six of the investigated companies exported products within the past year and he promised that the countries receiving those products will be informed in the matter as of Monday.

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