Brazil plans WTO appeal in ‘trade war’ as EU bans poultry imports

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock/Magone
Picture: iStock/Magone
A Brazilian association has condemned an EU decision to suspend 20 plants in the country from exporting meat to Europe.

The Associação Brasileira de Proteína Animal (ABPA) said the measure is ‘protectionist’ and not based on public health risk.

Member States voted to ban imports of poultry, especially chicken, from 20 slaughterhouses, including BRF, due to deficiencies in the Brazilian official control system.

Brazil to appeal to WTO

The Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA), Blairo Maggi, said Brazil will appeal to the WTO to resume exports of poultry to European Union countries.

He added the decision constitutes a ‘trade war’ but affected sites also sell to the domestic market, Asia and Mexico. 

ABPA called the decision ‘disproportionate and inconsistent’ with rules in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement.

The group has hired an attorney to do preparatory studies for any WTO panel regarding restrictions to shipments of chicken meat.

It described sanitary restrictions imposed by the EU as ‘trade barriers’ to Brazilian salted meat.

Shipments of salted products (with only 1.2% salt added) are required to meet the criteria for analysis of more than 2,600 types of Salmonella. Product without salt added is only analyzed for two types of the pathogen, said ABPA.

Audit revealed system deficiencies

The European Commission said the measure was taken at a meeting yesterday (Thursday).

“We confirm that the Member States voted (by unanimity) in favour of delisting 20 Brazilian establishments from which imports of meat and meat products (mainly poultry) are currently authorized,” ​said a spokesperson.

“The measure proposed by the European Commission relates to deficiencies detected in the Brazilian official control system.

“This measure will start applying two days following its publication in the Official Journal.”

An audit of the control system for beef, horse and poultry meat by DG Sante in May last year​ was follow up to a Brazilian investigation into illegal activities in the meat sector.

Polícia Federal held the third phase of Operation Carne Fraca, called Operation Trapaça, earlier this year and targeted three Mérieux NutriSciences labs​ as part of the investigation into fraudulent results.

Bioagri (part of Mérieux NutriSciences Group) told us at the time that the food testing labs in Maringá, Toledo and São Paulo were cooperating with authorities.

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