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Brazil meat scandal

About 3,000kg of Brazilian meat could have been sold in Hong Kong, food safety official admits

Government has been recalling meat supplied by 21 Brazilian companies implicated in bribery and tainted meat scandal in the country

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 April, 2017, 7:43pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 April, 2017, 7:43pm

About 3,000kg of meat from the 21 companies involved in a bribery and tainted meat scandal in Brazil could have already been sold to customers in Hong Kong despite a government recall.

But official tests showed all 180 samples of Brazilian meat currently available in Hong Kong markets were found to be satisfactory.

Centre for Food Safety controller Gloria Tam Lai-fan told lawmakers that the government had recalled 89 tons of Brazilian meat during a two-week operation starting on March 24 and only “a very small portion” of all products had made it to the market.

She said among 32 containers of Brazilian meat arriving in Hong Kong since the recall, only one was opened.

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About 7,000kg of Brazilian meat from the opened container had gone to the local market. The government was able to recall 4,000kg of this, Tam said.

Some 27 containers were re-exported to other countries and four were sealed in Hong Kong.

“Most meat has left Hong Kong, and some was consumed by the local market,” she said.

Despite media reports that some local vendors continued to sell the troubled meat, Tam said law enforcement officers had not found a single case during their inspections.

But she said anyone who sold the recalled meat could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of HK$50,000.

Tam said officers would continue to carry out spot checks in places where meat vendors conduct business, though she said it would be “impossible’ to reach every market.

Last month, the Centre for Food Safety revised the blanket ban on all Brazilian meat products, limiting it to imports from the 21 companies under investigation in the country.