May 10, 2017

Most Countries have Resumed Importing Brazilian Meat

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The Brazilian Minister of Agriculture recently announced that the majority of countries that had placed restrictions on Brazilian meat imports have now lifted those restrictions and resumed importing Brazilian meat. There are still ten countries that restrict Brazilian meat imports, but they represent only a very small portion of the total meat exports.

The restrictions were put in place in March after the Brazilian Federal Police revealed the results of a two-year investigation into the payment of bribes to federal inspectors in exchange for certifying the sale of tainted meat. Most of the larger importing countries removed the restrictions after the limited extent of the problem became clear. They also accepted the assurances from the Brazilian government that they are maintaining the highest standards for meat processing. Several countries also sent delegations of experts to Brazil to recertify the facilities involved in exporting meat to their countries.

The scandal broke in March when the Federal Police announced that 35 inspectors at 26 food processing facilities had been implicated in the bribery scandal. Only a few of those facilities were actually involved in meat exports and those facilities have had their export licenses revoked.

The Brazilian Federal Police have been widely criticized for the way the investigation was announced. Brazil has over 4,000 food processing facilities and 2,300 federal inspectors, yet only 35 inspectors and 26 facilities were implicated in the scandal. Even though they represented a very small part of the total food processing sector, the Federal Police left the impression that the entire system was implicated, which was not the case. Immediately after the announcement, many countries put a hold on all Brazilian meat imports out of an abundance of caution, but those holds have now been lifted.