No health risk from Brazil’s meat scandal, says envoy

Brazil's meat is safe to eat and does not pose a public health risk, according to government officials

The Brazilian government is taking urgent and comprehensive action to fight corruption and collusion between food inspectors and Brazil’s meat industry, an envoy to Brussels has told this site. 

The first secretary of the Brazilian mission to the European Union (EU), Henrique Choer Moraes, said that until now, technical analyses of the problem had not indicated risks to public health. Rather, they pointed to ingredients fraud, such as allowing water in chicken and starch in sausages to exceed permitted quantities.

He was speaking after a 28 March visit to Brazil by EU health and food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, where he spoke to agriculture minister Blairo Maggi. Andriukaitis will be briefing EU agriculture ministers today (Monday) at an EU agriculture council in Luxembourg. He will take questions on the scandal at the European Parliament in Strasbourg this evening (Monday).

The European Union’s health commissioner has asked Brazil to reassure European consumers that the food inspection system in the country is reliable. From our perspective, to begin restoring confidence, it is crucial to be fully transparent with our trading partners,” said Moraes.

‘Vigilant’

The Brazilian official to the EU added that export licences for only four out of 260 meat companies exporting to Europe have been suspended and that shipments of the other 256 producers are ongoing, albeit under reinforced and severe checks.

We have asked them to be vigilant and increase controls on meat – both in terms of documentary and physical checks – coming from Brazil. All consignments from the establishments implicated in the fraud currently ‘en route’ to the EU will be rejected and returned to Brazil,” confirmed a European Commission spokesperson on health and food safety issues.

In Brazil, Andriukaitis was told about urgent measures taken by the Brazilian government in response to the scandal. The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) has put in place a task force consisting of 250 officials – including auditors, inspection agents, veterinary and phytosanitary experts – to investigate the problem.

Comprehensive audit

Samples for analyses have also been collected at Brazilian retailers and include products manufactured by the 21 producers implicated in the corruption claims, such as sausages, ham, bacon, hamburgers, frozen chicken and turkey. The results of the analyses may be known next week.

EU officials are planning to conduct a comprehensive audit on Brazilian food health controls, in Brazil, by May. MAPA officials will be making international trips for technical meetings with their overseas counterparts in the meantime.

Meanwhile, “JBS, which is one of the alleged companies, has nearly stopped production and the demand for Brazilian poultry and beef in the EU has slowed down”, noted the secretary general of the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (UECBV) Jean-Luc Mériaux.

Related News

Russia has leapt to the defense of Brazil's under-fire meat safety standards

Russia defends Brazil over rotten meat scandal

Watch: Brazil meat scandal

France-based Interpol is an international police force battling many forms of criminality

Brazil's meat firms face fraud attacks

Petition organisers attacked the 'fat cat meatpackers' who, they claim, undercut US beef

US petition seeks to ban Brazilian beef imports

Russia's Evgeny Gromyko (left) with Brazil's Blairo Maggi (right)

Russia and Brazil seek food deal worth billions

Brazil's pork production is expected to rise this year too

Brazil meat scandal: limited damage to pork

Federal police believe the Agriculture Ministry received millions of Brazilian reals in bribes

Brazil police probe ‘corruption’ in agriculture ministry

Brazil President Michel Temer gave a defiant speech amid a growing corruption crisis

Brazil President Temer hits out at JBS chief

A diplomatic offensive from Brazil's president Michel Temer eased the meat scandal

Brazil meat scandal could spark billions in losses

Brazil's beef industry is adamant that the meat scandal won't hurt export growth

Brazil standing by export hope as meat scandal cools

The European Commission will audit Brazil's meat supply chain by mid-May

Leaders from Brazil and EU to tackle meat 'crisis'

It is unclear at this stage if Brazil will face export bans as a result of the meat scandal

Brazil rocked by rotten meat scandal

Four Brazilian slaughterhouses have been banned from selling meat to Europe

Brazil meat scandal: EU says trade ban ‘inaccurate’

Copa-Cogeca wants to see tougher import controls after the Brazilian meat scandal

Farm body wants ‘action’ after Brazil meat scandal

Industry associations warn the Brazilian meat scandal could lead to job losses

Brazil meat scandal: trade hits back after police sting

Comments (1)

Jeff Coudayre - 05 Apr 2017 | 06:33

Confidence

What a great message...

05-Apr-2017 at 18:33 GMT

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.