Brazil meat scandal: EU says trade ban ‘inaccurate’

By Oscar Rousseau contact

- Last updated on GMT

Four Brazilian slaughterhouses have been banned from selling meat to Europe
Four Brazilian slaughterhouses have been banned from selling meat to Europe

Related tags: Brazilian meat, International trade, Brazil, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Poultry

The international embarrassment facing Brazil over its rotten meat scandal has deepened after Hong Kong joined China in banning meat imports, although Europe is yet to follow suit.

Hong Kong banned imports of fresh and frozen Brazilian meat and poultry on 21 March, a day after China moved to impose a total ban on Brazilian meat.

Chinese poultry imports are the second-largest export market for Brazil, which shipped over 450,000 tonnes (t) of white meat to China in 2016, according to World Trade Stats. Hong Kong is the fifth-largest volume-based export market for Brazil, with poultry trade surpassing 250,000t last year.

European Union countries do not feature in Brazil’s top 10 export markets, in volume, but the Netherlands features in the top 20.

Responding to comment from this site, a spokesperson for the European Commission said it was “inaccurate​” to suggest the EU had imposed an all-out ban on Brazilian meat imports, like China and Hong Kong.

According to the Brazilian authorities, 21 establishments are implicated in the inquiry, and four out of these 21 were eligible to export to the EU,​” commission spokesperson Enrico Brivio told this site.

These four establishments have now been suspended from exports to the EU.​”

Since the rotten meat scandal​ broke on Friday 17 March, the European Commission has been in close contact with Brazilian authorities to ensure food travelling from Brazil to Europe is safe for consumption.

What it called “intensive diplomatic contacts​” took place on Monday 20 March.

Brivio said Brazilian authorities told the Commission that, of the 21 meat plants implicated in the scandal​, four were eligible to export to the EU. All four have been since been suspended from exporting meat to the EU.

Other Brazilian meat factories not placed under surveillance by government authorities are still able to export meat to Europe.

European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis will be in Brazil from Monday 27 March to discuss the growing food safety crisis with the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture Blairo Maggi.

Is the EU-Mercosur deal dead?

Brussels representatives have met Latin American counterparts this week, despite allegations Brazilian meat plants sold rotten meat and bribed government officials. A deal between the EU and trade bloc Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) is not dead. Despite the food safety scandal, Europe is still negotiating with Mercosur and both parties are confident of progressing a free trade agreement that has enjoyed fresh life after talks resumed in 2010.

Related topics: Meat

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