Blairo Maggi highlighted transparency and partnership with the Public Ministry and Federal Police in the investigation of laboratories
Minister Blairo Maggi (Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply) reassured to the population in a video released on Monday (5) about the consumption of poultry after the operation carried out with MAPA support in laboratories that perform tests to detect the presence of Salmonella. “It is an operation to solve problems of the relationship between laboratories and companies producing food. The Ministry of Agriculture has been working together with the Federal Police, the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office and I can assure to the Brazilian population that there is no risk in the consumption of poultry meat produced by any of the companies mentioned or not. As we all know, Salmonella disappears when cooked or when frying at a temperature of 60ºC.”
The Brazilian regulation is different from that of certain countries that do not allow the presence of Salmonella, explained Maggi. “The investigation is about exporting to some countries and the adulteration of analyzes for products with these destinations. We are absolutely calm defending agriculture, farmers, Brazilian agribusiness and we want the thing done in a correct, transparent way, and it will be done”.
MAPA’s Defense Secretary, Luis Rangel, said that since last year the ministry has started to work more intense and sophisticated audit models in laboratories, with special attention to Salmonella. “We went as far as we could with our administrative tools and now we rely on the cooperation of the police to thwart this type of fraud,” Rangel commented on a joint operation with the Federal Police (FP) related to the fraud in the emission of analysis results.
The joint investigation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) and the FP found falsification of the results of the examinations of private laboratories, accredited by the ministry, omitting, in some samples, the existence of the bacterium Salmonella spp. Salmonella is common, especially in poultry meat, as it is part of the intestinal flora of these animals. If the meat is cooked or subjected to frying, there is no risk, but the bacteria are still restricted in certain countries.
Five laboratories are involved in the irregularities identified, three accredited by the ministry and two self-control companies. These five, out of a universe of 496 accredited by the MAPA, can no longer carry out analyzes until the end of the investigations, which can result in definitive disqualification.
There were also the suspension of exports by the industrial plants involved to 12 destinations where specific sanitary requirements for control and typing of Salmonella spp are required: South Africa, Algeria, South Korea, Israel, Iran, Macedonia, Mauritius, Tajikistan, Switzerland, Ukraine, Vietnam and the European Union.
Four BRF industrial plants are under investigation, two of which are chicken, one in Rio Verde (GO) another in Carambeí (PR), and one in Mineiros (GO), as well as a feed mill in Chapecó (SC). The return of the export by the unit excluded from the list will depend on the sanitary audit of the importing country.
The companies involved will increase their frequency of sampling until the end of the investigation process. If practices affecting the internal market are proven, appropriate measures will be taken.
The Secretary of SDA highlighted the initiatives to improve tools to combat food fraud and the continuity of actions already performed by the Federal Inspection Service (SIF), enabling the reduction of non-conformities in the short and medium term.
Of 34 people investigated in the operation of the Federal Police, which occurred on March 17 of last year, two were only occupants of positions in committee and were exonerated, Julio Cesar Carneiro on March 20 and Fábio Zanon Simão on June 14.
Regarding the actual occupying positions, Disciplinary Administrative Procedures (PADs) were established to determine the conduct, most of which are in progress, as determined by art. 41, paragraph 1, item II, of the Federal Constitution. The result of one of the PADs introduced, culminated in the resignation of Renato Menon, published in the Official Gazette (DOU) this Monday (March 5).
After the operation of the FP last year, the institution started working with the MAPA in all actions related to investigations of establishments supervised by the Ministry.