Johannesburg – The South African government on Wednesday suspended imports of meat from establishments suspected to be involved in the Brazil meat scandal.
South Africa is joining a chorus of other countries after China, the European Union, South Korea and Chile on Monday announced restrictions of red meat imports from Brazil due to recent evidence showing that Brazilian meat-packers have been selling rotten and substandard produce for several years, especially to export markets.
Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said the government had suspended exports from 21 meat processing units.
In a statement, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) said it has requested the Brazilian authority to provide official information and a list of establishments that have been identified in the meat scandal.
“DAFF has also advised the Brazilian authority to ban all exportation of meat from such establishments until the issue has been resolved to the satisfaction of the South African Veterinary Authority” the department said.
“It is not known how many consignments may have already left Brazil and are on their way to South Africa, however, DAFF is in the process of ensuring that the establishments implicated are suspended from exporting meat to South Africa until the Brazilian Veterinary Authority have fully investigated the matter and can give the necessary assurances for compliance to the South African requirements for importation of meat into South Africa.”
DAFF said its officials at all ports of entry which receives meat had been instructed to test every container of meat from Brazil using the existing policies regarding testing of consignments.
Consignments arriving at the ports of entry in South Africa may be tested microbiologically for organisms such as Salmonella.
“DAFF wishes to assure the consumers that the officials at ports of entry have always been vigilant on meat imports from any country to ensure compliance with sanitary requirements which are put in place to protect both the consumers and animals against food safety hazards and animal diseases respectively.”
The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), which has been raising serious concerns over health standards of imported meat and its devastating effect on job opportunities in South Africa, was not immediately available for comment.