PHILIPPINES

 
Brazilian meat producer demands explanation for the import ban

Brazilian conglomerate, BRF S.A., one of the world's top poultry exporters, is demanding from the Philippine government for clarification on its decision to stop accepting shipments from 3 of BRF’s accredited meat-packing plants.
“As one of the biggest poultry exporters in the world, BRF takes product safety and quality very seriously. BRF understands that 3 of our plants were temporarily suspended on 27 July after one specific shipment tested positive for salmonella,” said a BRF statement.
“We are cooperating actively with the Philippine authorities through the Brazilian embassy to clarify the type of salmonella found in it is not harmful to health,” it added.
BRF noted that there are around 2,600 types of salmonella commonly found in food products of animal and vegetables origins, but most of which are easily killed through proper cooking.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol signed Memorandum Order (MO) 30 authorising the temporary ban on the importation of beef and poultry meat from 25 Brazilian meat establishments. Pinol made the decision after several shipments of beef and poultry meat from 25 accredited foreign-meat establishments (FMEs) in Brazil tested positive for salmonella.
'Memorandum Circular 9-2008-5, Series of 2008, provides the 'Guidelines on the Assessment of Microbiological Quality of Fresh, Chilled, and Frozen Meat', wherein the microbiological limit for salmonella spp. must be absent in 25 grams sample, MO 30 read.
The agriculture chief has also suspended the accreditation of the 25 FMEs in Brazil for 1 year. The 25 suspended FMEs include those affiliated with JBS S/A, one of the world's top beef exporter; Seara Aimentos LTDA, Minerva S.A., Friboi LTDA, Bertin LTDA, Cooperativa Central Aurora Alimentos, Frigoestrela S.A, C. Vale-Cooperativa Agroindustrial and Copacol-Cooperativa Agroindustrial Consolata. Out of the 25 FMEs, three are affiliated with BRF.
Pinol earlier announced a blanket ban on all meat imports from Brazil. He also mentioned that his Department will send 10 personnel to conduct inspection on 25 meat establishments in Brazil in mid-August which will take about 2 weeks to complete. The department will then lift the export ban on meat-packing plants that will be cleared by the inspectors.
Meat Importers and Traders Association President Jesus C. Cham urged the government to expedite its investigation, as any delays in the process could result in higher meat prices.
Brazil claimed that the irregularities found in the involved companies were related to economic fraud and did not compromise the safety of its meat products.
Philippines imported 20,716.616 tonnes of meat and meat products from Brazil in January to May 2017. Beef imports accounted for 31.62%, or 6,551.453. Meanwhile, chicken imports accounted for 62.64% of the meat and meat products purchased from Brazil. In 2016 Brazil exported a total of 55,581.853 tonnes of meat and meat products to the Philippines.