Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Corned beef ban! - Ministry bars imports from Brazil, urges public not to consume any

Published:Tuesday | March 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Karl Samuda (second right), minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, discusses steps to be taken to address allegations regarding corned beef imported from Brazil with representatives from the Ministry of Health, Jamaica Customs Agency, Consumer Affairs Commission, National Compliance Regulatory Authority and The Bureau of Standards Jamaica. Others (from left) are: Dr Osbil Watson, chief veterinary officer at the ministry; Permanent Secretary Donovan Stanberry; and Chief Technical Director Dermon Spence.
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Amid fears of rotten processed meat being used in its products, the Government has banned the importation of corned beef from Brazil - where 99.5 per cent of the local product comes from. The public is also being urged not to eat any corned beef until the relevant tests have been done.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries advised of the decision over the scandal in the South American country that has been triggered by reports from Brazilian authorities that several major Brazilian meat processors have been "selling rotten beef and poultry".

The Brazilian companies implicated supply the 99.5 per cent of corned beef imported into Jamaica, the ministry said in a statement.

Portfolio minister Karl Samuda said an emergency meeting was called yesterday from which the following decisions were agreed:

1. A temporary hold will be placed on all permits for the import of corned beef from Brazil.

2. As a precautionary measure, all corned beef currently on the shelves will be withdrawn.

3. The National Food Recall Committee will meet immediately to determine the next steps and inform when it will be safe to consume the product.

 

Chemical tests

 

Starting today, Samuda said the Bureau of Standards Jamaica will conduct chemical tests to ascertain the contents of corned beef on the market.

Speaking on RJR 94FM yesterday, permanent secretary in the ministry, Donovan Stanberry, said the decision was a precautionary one and that the distributors were in agreement.

Last week, the Brazilian police named BRF (the world's largest meat producer) and JBS (the biggest poultry exporter), along with smaller companies in a two-year corruption probe, Reuters news agency reported.

The police allege that the companies paid inspectors and politicians to overlook the processing of rotten meat and exports with fraudulent documentation and even traces of salmonella.

China and the European Union have curtailed meat imports from Brazil.

Full statement from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries about the ban on Brazilian corned beef

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries has imposed an immediate import ban on corned beef originating from Brazil.

The move follows reports from Brazilian authorities that several major Brazilian meat processors have been "selling rotten beef and poultry". The companies are also alleged to have paid hefty bribes to auditors in exchange for fraudulent sanitary licences.

The Brazilian companies implicated by the Brazilian authorities supply 99.5 per cent of the corned beef on the local market.

Given the gravity of the situation, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Hon Karl Samuda called an emergency meeting this afternoon at the Ministry's Hope Gardens offices, stressing the importance of safeguarding the welfare of consumers.

Officials from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Health, the Consumer Affairs Commission, The Bureau of Standards Jamaica, the National Compliance Regulatory Authority, and the Jamaica Customs Agency attended the meeting. In addition, the Ministry has convened a meeting with major distributors and importers of corned beef locally.

Following the discussions, it was agreed that given the implications for the country's public health, the following steps are to be taken immediately:

1. A temporary hold will be placed on all permits for the import of corned beef from Brazil.

2. As a precautionary measure, all corned beef currently on the shelves will be withdrawn.

3. The National Food Recall Committee will meet immediately to determine next steps and inform when it will be safe to consume the product.

In the interim, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica will conduct chemical test profiles to ascertain the contents of corned beef on the market and the

The Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry will conduct microbiological and residue tests to ascertain whether contaminants are present in the products on the local market.

Consumers are also being cautioned not to consume corned beef until further notice.