A year on from the Brazil meat veto, Stericycle looks at what's happened since

A year on from the Brazil meat veto, Stericycle looks at what's happened since

Posted: by Stericycle on May 25, 2019

It’s been a dramatic year for Brazilian meat exporters, with 2018 ending with the announcement that export sales had lagged amidst trade bans and truckers’ strikes, according to data revealed by trade group ABPA.

In the first half of 2018, chicken exports were rocked due to a Europe-wide ban on 20 Brazilian chicken plants because of food safety concerns – namely salmonella being detected on a number of occasions. This was covered up by fraud, which resulted in the issuing of health certificates concealing the presence of this bacterium.

The decision affected up to 35 percent of European exports, with suppliers desperately sourcing new markets to pick up lost revenue. In all, 500 tonnes of product was recalled globally.

In September, the EU veto was lifted, but the damage was done, with exports dropping by 9.2 percent from 2017 to $6.57 billion in revenue. Following the ban reversal, The European Parliament published a parliamentary question concerning a spike in sales of broiler chickens in the EU. It was speculated that a surplus of Brazilian chicken as a result of the ban had led exporters to sell old meat at extremely low prices, and as such questions were raised as to whether the meat met health and safety specifications.

The issue is ongoing today, with The South African Poultry Association calling for a ban on Brazilian chicken imports in February, due to a new salmonella recall affecting 299.6 tonnes of chicken meat intended for export. Saudi Arabia has also banned producers.

The above case highlights on a larger scale the failings by Brazilian producers, who have continued to evade, or failed to comply with, food safety regulations.

It wasn’t just Brazil’s chicken that was affected. Russia froze imports of the country’s pork for nearly a year after accusing Brazilian purveyors of using a banned feed additive, reversing the ban in November following “intense” work on traceability and segregation to meet Russian health and safety standards.

This perhaps marks a noted effort from Brazil to work to re-establish trust in its produce. However, until all producers are on board, recalls will continue to undermine the wider market.

If you need advice or information on your product strategy, Stericycle’s team of experts can advise.