Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Egypt halts Brazilian beef and poultry imports over food safety fears MARKET
(Dubai-Jumada II 26, 1438 H) Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt halted beef and poultry imports from Brazilian companies over concerns about food safety after accusations that individuals had been bribed to allow sales of rotten and salmonella-tainted meats. Analysts are certain that the scandal would hurt Brazilian economy and meat exports severely.
Following a two-year investigation of Brazil’s meatpacking industry, police have accused more than 100 people, mostly health inspectors, of taking bribes for allowing the sale of rancid products, falsifying export documents or failing to inspect meatpacking plants.
“This measure was taken in the interest of citizens’ and residents’ safety,” a statement from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, carried by Saudi Arabia’s official news agency SPA late on Wednesday, said of the halt to imports.
It listed the affected companies as JJZ Alimentos SA, Frango Dm Industria e Comercio de Alimentos Ltda, Seara Alimentos, a subsidiary of JBS, the world’s biggest meatpacking company, and BRF SA, the world’s biggest poultry exporter.
The companies have denied any wrongdoing and authorities have said that no cases of death or illness have been linked to the tainted meat investigation.
A United Arab Emirate`s announcement comes amid ongoing investigations in Brazil after its Federal Police launched raids last Friday on food processing companies following allegations of corruption by health inspectors and the alleged sale of rotten products.
The ministry named six Brazilian companies whose products it has halted release into the UAE markets - JJZ Alimentos, Breyer & Cia Ltda, Frigorifico Larissa Ltda, Frango DM Industria E Comercio De Alimentos, Seara Alimentos (a subsidiary of JBS SA), and BRF SA.
Affected products from the six include frozen beef and poultry, some frozen vegetables, honey and frozen fish, according to a report issued on state news agency WAM.
Importers are instructed to immediately withdraw these products and destroy them if necessary or return them to the country of origin under the supervision of the food safety authorities in each emirate.
Meanwhile, Egypt followed the ban announcement, without naming any companies. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in Qatar asked all ports in the country to confiscate all consignments of cattle meat, poultry and their products from Brazil. The Kuwait imposed more stringent measures to monitor and examine meat imports from the Brazil as concerns are growing among consumers in all GCC countries about the safety of meat feom Brazil.
The Middle East is one of the significant export markets for Brazilian food products, especially beef and poultry, which are subject to halal requirements.
In 2015 Brazil exported an estimated $1.4 billion worth of beef to the region, equivalent to 24 percent of its beef shipments that year.
By export volume, Egypt was the second largest buyer of Brazilian beef in 2016, trailing Hong Kong. Saudi Arabia is the Middle East's largest importer of Brazilian poultry. In 2015, it bought up almost 50 percent of Brazil's chicken meat exports to the region, a volume of 789,302 tons.
The UAE was the second largest Middle East importer of Brazil's chicken meat in 2015, buying 303,737 tons.
China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Mexico also banned imports of frozen meat from Brazil as a precautionary measure.