Chicken Industry

Imports of food products from Brazil shut down amid safety check scandal


Brazilian police are said to be investigating executives at the country’s main poultry exporter, BRF. Picture: REUTERS

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has suspended imports of food products from various establishments in Brazil suspected of fraudulently evading food safety checks.

Brazilian police are said to be investigating executives at the country’s main poultry exporter, BRF, after claims of corruption and the evasion of food safety checks in the Brazilian meat and poultry industries.

In the wake of the listeriosis outbreak the South African Poultry Association, which represents producers, expressed concern about imported chicken paste used in processed meats, including polony.

Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana said this week that imports from implicated Brazilian companies had been suspended pending the conclusion of investigations.

“We are aware of the recent challenges related to an establishment in Brazil [BRF] which is under investigation by authorities for food [safety] fraud.”

The department said Brazilian authorities indicated that three establishments were under investigation, as well as three laboratories that service these establishments.

“These establishments have been suspended until the conclusion of the investigation, and in addition [the department] has also suspended their imports,” said Zokwana.

The department has a mandate to regulate the importation of meat and meat products, such as mechanically deboned meat, which is used as raw material in the manufacture of processed meats. Department officials at the ports of entry monitor and inspect all imported products of animal origin.

All imported meat is sampled and microbiologically tested for the presence of pathogens such as listeria and salmonella, the department said.

It added that none of the inspected meat products had tested positive for listeria.