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Brazil: Cover-up allegations about salmonella in chicken

Authorities in Brazil have launched a third phase of investigations into the Brazilian meat industry amid allegations that laboratories covered up the extent of salmonella found in chicken.

The latest phase of Operation Weak Flesh has involved 270 federal policy and 21 federal agricultural tax auditors, who performed 91 court orders across the country.

6 plants under investigation

The Brazilian Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply said 4 BRF industrial plants were under investigation, including 2 poultry processing plants.

Brazil is currently modernising and over-hauling its antiquated food safety system, including a plant to centralise inspections at abattoirs. Photo: Shutterstock
Brazil is currently modernising and over-hauling its antiquated food safety system, including a plant to centralise inspections at abattoirs. Photo: Shutterstock

Salmonella cover-up

The investigation is also looking at whether a number of private laboratories covered up the existence of salmonella in products from BRF.

Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said the latest phase of investigations dealt with events in 2014 and 2015.

“These are things of the past and we want to clearly separate the past from the present and defends the Ministry’s point of view that we are doing things correctly and transparently.”

Brazil is currently modernising and over-hauling its antiquated food safety system, including a plant to centralise inspections at abattoirs.

EU expected to delist 7 poultry & meat plants

The latest actions came in the same week as the European Union were expected to delist 7 Brazilian meat and poultry plants from its list of authorised EU suppliers in response to concerns linked to food safety.

It follows an examination of information from the EU’s Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). The facilities include 3 plants owned by global meat giant JBS; 3 owned by Brazil’s third largest pork and poultry processor Aurora Alimentos and another leading Brazilian poultry establishment.

EU action prompted by deficiencies in control system

A European Commission spokesperson told Ireland’s Agriland that “the measure is related to the deficiencies recently detected in the Brazilian official control system.

“As the text was simply presented to national experts from member states a possible vote/decision will only take place at a later stage – date to be confirmed,” the spokesperson added.

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