Brazil meat scandal

Hong Kong revises Brazilian import ban to 21 companies after promise of increased credibility

The Centre for Food Safety said additional food hygiene certification had been provided to Hong Kong authorities.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 March, 2017, 8:32am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 March, 2017, 2:37am

A blanket ban on all Brazilian meat products has been revised to limit imports from 21 companies from the South American country.

The Centre for Food Safety on Tuesday night said the revised ban came into effect immediately after further information regarding the quality of certification on food hygiene was provided to Hong Kong authorities.

A centre spokesman said Brazil had provided the Hong Kong government information that it would “strictly implement” its international certification process to demonstrate the credibility of its system.

Regular audits of the system would also be conducted by Brazilian authorities to ensure effective operation.

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“Once the Brazilian authorities provide further information about the 21 plants, the centre will conduct reassessment and take follow-up actions,” a spokesman said.

While 21 companies were still under investigation by the Brazilian authorities for tainted meat, no evidence showed that other companies that exported food products internationally were involved in any illegal operations.

Those companies were also authorised to export to other countries, including to the European Union, Singapore and mainland China. Brazilian authorities have also stepped up surveillance on their food manufacturers.

The centre said the 66 Brazilian meat samples collected from local imports and retail stores since March 21 were tested for meat deterioration and found to be satisfactory.

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The Hong Kong authority will maintain communications with Brazilian authorities and consider follow-up actions in response to further developments, it said.

The Hong Kong Food Council welcomed the revised ban. The council believed a relaxed ban could alleviate the tight supply and rising prices of frozen meats, and revive public confidence in Brazilian meat. It also urged the government to notify the trade sector as soon as possible with any further developments.

On March 21, the city’s food safety authorities issued a ban on the import of all meat from Brazil.

On Friday authorities recalled all frozen and chilled meat and poultry imported from the 21 plants involved.

Among the plants, six of them were found to have exported meat to Hong Kong in the past six weeks.