News / South Africa

Steven Tau
2 minute read
23 Mar 2017
5:51 am

Government urged to investigate ‘rotten’ Brazilian meat allegations

Steven Tau

This after reports emerged that Brazilian meat inspectors were bribed to issue fake certificates for rotten produce.

AFP/File / Mauricio Lima
Brazilian group JBS, the world's market leader in meat, has become the world's number two global food producer by revenue after Nestle

The portfolio committee on agriculture, forestry and fisheries on Wednesday requested the minister to investigate reports that South Africa was receiving imports of meat Brazilian producers had covered in carcinogenic chemicals to mask the smell of the rotting meat.

The scandal around tainted meat exports has rocked Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter of meat.

According to media reports, a total of 21 meat processing plants in Brazil had been closed down and at least 30 people arrested after a two-year police investigation revealed widespread corruption in the Brazilian meat export market, where inspectors were bribed to issue fake certificates for rotten produce.

China and Hong Kong, Brazil’s largest export markets, immediately banned all meat imports from the country.

Figures released by the South African Poultry Association showed the country  imported233 787 tons of poultry from Brazil in 2016. In January this year, poultry imports from Brazil amounted to 21 027 tons.

The department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries said it had written to its Brazilian counterparts to provide an official report and to recall all meat en route to South Africa.

There could already be shipments at the ports of Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

The minister has issued a directive for the rigorous testing of all meat coming from Brazil, particularly poultry, and that the standard operating procedures be followed.

“The department is in the process of ensuring that the establishments implicated are suspended from exporting meat to the country until the Brazilian Veterinary Authority has fully investigated the matter and can give the necessary assurances for compliance to the South African requirements for importation of meat into the country.

“Officials from the department at all ports of entry which receive meat have been instructed to test every container of meat from Brazil.”

Consignments arriving at the ports of entry in South Africa must be tested for, among other things, salmonella.

The department assured South African consumers that officials at ports of entry have always been vigilant on meat imports from any country to ensure compliance with health requirements.

When contacted for comment on the matter, Agri SA’s designate executive director, Omri van Zyl, said he was not aware of the reports.

South Africa bans imports of Brazilian meat

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