Brazil's embassy in South Africa has issued a statement following the worldwide press coverage of alleged breaches of health inspections from its meat and poultry packers.

In the April newsletter of Checkout Africa under the headline 'How the Brazilian meat scam has affected Africa' we linked to the story on this website expressing South Africa's concern, shared with countries around the world.

The Embassy of Brazil in Pretoria issued the following statement "clarifying the main aspects of both the operation carried out by the Brazilian Federal Police and the Brazilian Government’s system of sanitary inspection for meat products".

It confirms news reports that of the plants being investigated saying: "The facts are that among 11,000 employees, only 33 are being investigated. Out of 4,837 establishments subject to federal inspection, only 21 are allegedly involved in irregularities.

"Three of these establishments have already been suspended and all 21 will be placed under special inspection regime."

We have printed the full statement in full below:

Press Note issued by the Presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil on the operation “Weak Meat” carried out by the Brazilian Federal Police, concerning production plants of animal protein.

I have convened a ministerial meeting over the weekend, in order to assess the safety of national and international consumers with regard to the quality of the meat produced in the country.

The Government has decided to speed up the audit process in the 21 establishments cited in the Federal Police investigation. Three of these establishments have already been suspended and all 21 will be placed under special inspection regime conducted by a specific task force of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA).

The facts are that among 11,000 employees, only 33 are being investigated. Out of 4,837 establishments subject to federal inspection, only 21 are allegedly involved in irregularities. The objective of the investigation is not the agriculture and livestock defense system in place, whose rigour is widely recognised, but a few conduct deviations.

Foreign embassies were assured that all exporting plants remain open to inspections by importing countries and to the monitoring of activities under the national control system, one of the most respected in the world.

MAPA will fully cooperate with the current investigations in order to determine eventual misconduct within the agriculture and livestock defense system.

The Federal Government manifests its confidence in the quality of the national product, which has been approved by consumers in highly demanding markets around the world in terms of inspection and defense systems. MAPA has a strict inspection service for products of animal origin. The high standard of excellence opened the doors of Brazilian meat to over 150 countries, with permanent auditing, monitoring and risk assessment. In addition to the national controls, products are also subject to local inspection on reaching their destinations.

In 2016 alone, 853,000 items of products of animal origin from Brazil were sent to foreign markets and only 184 were considered, by importers, out of compliance, often because of non-sanitary issues, such as labelling and completion of certificates.

See original story here

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