Several countries impose ban on meat imports from Brazil
Brazilian meat industry has received a huge blow as several countries have started to ban its meat imports following an investigation into corruption by health inspectors and the alleged sale of rotten products.
China is the latest of the countries to have withdrawn Brazilian beef, pork and poultry products from its retail shelves.
Outside mainland China, Hong Kong, which is among the top importers of Brazilian meat, had already imposed ban on new poultry and beef shipments.
Other countries that have imposed either partial or complete ban on Brazilian meat include Japan, Mexico, Canada, and the European Union member states.
On the other hand, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a statement that none of the tainted Brazilian meat had entered its shores. Further, it has committed to launch a 100% re-inspection and pathogen testing of all batches of raw beef and ready-to-eat products shipped from Brazil.
USDA acting deputy secretary Mike Young said: "Keeping food safe for American families is our top priority.
“FSIS has strengthened the existing safeguards that protect the American food supply as a precaution and is monitoring the Brazilian government's investigation closely.”
The concerns over the safety of Brazilian meat products all began when the Brazilian federal police in the country accused food inspectors of accepting bribes to allow sales of meat that were rotten as well as tainted with salmonella.
As per a press release issued by Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (ABIEC) on 18 March, three processing plants have been closed following the scandal while 21 plants have come under the scanner of the concerned agencies.
BRF, a leading Brazilian meat producer, has responded to the meat scandal, stating its denial in indulging in any of the practices including use of cardboard, bribing food safety officials and selling of rotten meat.
On a preventative and temporary basis, the company had suspended operations of its Mineiros poultry plant in Goias province which imports chicken and turkey products to several countries.
Image: Brazilian meat imports have been banned by several countries in light of a meat scandal. Photo: courtesy of Suat Eman/Freedigitalphotos.net.