March 8, 2018

Brazil Launches New Program to Upgrade Meat Testing Standards

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

The Brazilian Federal Police in conjunction with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture launched the third phase of their operation "Carne Fraca" (Weak Meat) earlier this week. The goal of this new program, called "Trapaca", is to upgrade the testing standards for Brazilian meat products in order to meet the higher standards of the major importers of Brazilian meat.

Investigations by the Federal Police and the Ministry of Agriculture revealed irregularities in the testing for salmonella in both private and government accredited laboratories. Investigators found irregularities in five testing laboratories - three which are accredited by the government and two laboratories operated by meat processing companies. The investigators contend that the labs omitted samples that tested positive for salmonella. These labs have been prohibited from conducting any further testing until the investigation is completed.

The government is investigating four processing facilities operated by BRF, which is one of the largest poultry and food processing companies in Brazil. These facilities are required to increase their frequency of testing until the investigation is completed. In the meantime, the Minister of Agriculture has suspended the export licenses from these four facilities to 11 countries that all have a tougher standard for salmonella

Brazilian sanitary standards allow for some presence of salmonella while other countries do not allow any salmonella. One of the goals of the investigation is to upgrade the Brazilian standards to equate to the toughest standards of the major importers of Brazilian meat products.

The Brazilian meat industry was rocked by the Carne Fraca scandal that broke in March of 2017. Since then, testing standards and procedures have been improved in order to prevent a reoccurrence of the testing lapses and the current investigation is part of that ongoing process.