SA sus­pends im­ports af­ter Brazil­ian ‘weak flesh’ scan­dal

CityPress - - Business - – De­wald van Rens­burg

The two largest Brazil­ian meat com­pa­nies im­pli­cated in the coun­try’s so-called weak flesh scan­dal both ex­port chicken meat to South Africa.

The de­part­ment of agri­cul­ture, forestry and fish­eries has sus­pended im­ports, as have many other coun­tries around the world, but has yet to say whether any tainted meat has been dis­cov­ered.

The Brazil­ian gov­ern­ment last week re­leased a list of 21 meat com­pa­nies al­leged to have bribed their way out of san­i­tary stan­dards.

This list is the out­come of that coun­try’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the sec­tor, which has un­earthed ter­ri­fy­ing dis­cov­er­ies, such as mix­ing card­board and pig heads into sausages, as well as us­ing acid to mask the smell of rot­ting meat, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg.

Two of the listed com­pa­nies are ex­porters of chicken meat to South Africa – Seara Ali­men­tos, a sub­sidiary of the JSB group, and BRF.

The two are Brazil’s largest meat con­glom­er­ates and have borne the brunt of Brazil’s crack­down. Ex­ec­u­tives at BRF have been ar­rested, and po­lice have al­leged that the com­pany bribed of­fi­cials to get sal­mo­nella-tainted meat car­goes shipped out to Europe.

The ma­jor prod­uct destined for South Africa from the two com­pa­nies is me­chan­i­cally deboned chicken, a paste that finds its way into prod­ucts such as chicken sausage or polony.

South Africa im­ported about 170 000 tons of this prod­uct from Brazil last year, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment trade statis­tics.

An ad­di­tional 40 000 tons of frozen “cuts and of­fal” was also shipped here from Brazil.

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