The Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA), representing Brazil’s pork and poultry sectors, has the following remarks to make concerning the recent stage of Operation Carne Fraca (“Weak Flesh”) carried out by Brazil’s Federal Police and MAPA, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply:
– The latest phase, entitled Operação Trapaça (“Operation Cheating”), addresses issues dating back to before the first stage of Operação Carne Fraca, on 17 March 2017;
– The operation is investigating suspected fraudulent changes made to laboratory microbiology analyses. These were one-off situations that Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture has corrected and inspected, as have several importing countries that have sent delegations to visit slaughterhouses during the period;
– The laboratory tests concern common micro-organisms found in the intestinal flora of birds in poultry houses the world over, and which are destroyed when exposed to cooking or frying temperatures for a short length of time. There is thus no risk to public health;
– The slaughterhouses implicated in the investigation have had their export licenses suspended;
– The laboratories involved in the operation were also immediately suspended by the Ministry and their accreditations may be revoked if the charges against them are proven;
– It is also important to underscore this: the events in question took place more than one year ago, and the cases are being investigated;
– After the first phase of Carne Fraca was triggered, Brazil’s chicken meat exporters were visited by repeated official technical and sanitary missions from thirteen countries. The latter included the European Union, Saudi Arabia, China, and Egypt;
– In addition to official missions, many private missions visited Brazil during this period in order to validate the county’s production system;
– Incoming inspection missions sent by Governments and certifying bodies are by no means uncommon: quite the contrary. Brazil’s poultry industry receives more than one thousand private missions annually, and this is something that goes back to before Operação Carne Fraca;
– Brazil is the world’s largest chicken meat exporter, shipping to over 160 countries. The country’s system is versatile and covers a range of production profiles so as to meet the needs of the most demanding markets. This tradition dates back more than forty years, when exports to Saudi Arabia began in 1976. Since then more than 60 million tonnes of chicken meat have been shipped in more than 2.4 million containers to 203 countries. Thanks to the intense inspection activities of Brazil’s authorities and the oversight exercised by importing countries, and private certifiers, there have never been records of quality problems or public health risks related to Brazilian poultry products.
– Brazil’s production industry enables occasional problems to be detected and corrected, and those responsible to be punished. However, we vehemently reject the blowing-up of sporadic issues so as to unfairly taint the entire export industry, which aims among other goals to ensure the supply of products to guarantee the food security of importing countries. Over time Brazil has built up a respectable track record backed up by the preservation of its sanitary status and by the quality of its products.