Gov't begins removal of Brazilian corned beef
The National Food Safety Recall Committee (NFSRC) held an urgent meeting yesterday engaging critical agencies in the actions necessary to implement the temporary ban on corned beef from Brazil, imposed by the Government.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries ordered the ban on Monday and the NFSRC's meeting was held as stipulated by the National Food Safety Policy.
The NFSRC which com-prises Jamaica Customs Agency of the Ministry of Finance, scientists and technical experts of the Veterinary Services Division (VSD), Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Ministry of Health (Food Safety and Public Health), Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID), and the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC).
Having assessed the facts they will do the following:
- Jamaica Customs Agency will stop any release of products in-country or on the high seas;
- Batch sampling are to be retrieved from the source (major importers only) by the BSJ and the VSD;
- Removal and verification (of removal) to be conducted by the BSJ, FSPID, MOH, Plant Protection and Quarantine Division and the CAC;
- the BSJ will conduct chemical test profiles to ascertain the contents of corned beef on the market;
- VSD of the ministry will conduct microbiological and residue tests to ascertain whether contaminants are present in the products on the local market;
- VSD will also send samples for DNA testing to identify the type of meat content.
... Continued removal from shelf to take place
The Government has issued a statement saying that through its experts in food safety and human health, it had consultation with the importers and distributors and took a precautionary action in the interest of human health and safety.
"In this vein, there will be a continual removal and verification of corned beef from all retail outlets in order to stem any further sale of to consumers, until sample testing of all brands of corned beef have been concluded," the statement said.
It said that the Government was committed to having the investigations concluded in the shortest possible time.
The move to ban corned beef 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.
Consumers are being cautioned not to consume corned beef and to retain those cans already bought until further notice.