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China audits Brazilian poultry processors online

Brazilian poultry processors have high hopes of gaining market access to China after Chinese authorities carried out an online audit.

The audit gave specific recommendations to Brazilian slaughterhouses which were suspended from exporting to China after Covid-19 outbreaks among their employees.

Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico reports that China is about to lift the existing suspension soon. The newspaper cited agricultural tax auditor Adriano Guahyba, who accompanied the online video inspection. The 4 facilities under evaluation are located in Rio Grande do Sul, 2 of which are owned by Seara (JBS), located in the municipalities of Passo Fundo and Três Passos; one is owned by BRF, and another by Minuano, both of which are located in the city of Lejeado. The companies themselves declined to comment on the audit at this moment in time.

Instead of physical checks, the Chinese authorities carried out an online video audit of Brazilian poultry processors. Photo: Mark Pasveer
Instead of physical checks, the Chinese authorities carried out an online video audit of Brazilian poultry processors. Photo: Mark Pasveer

According to auditor Guahyba, the Chinese inspectors have yet to publish an official document on approving the Brazilian processors. However, the Asian authorities’ “verbal opinion” is said to be favourable. The Chinese documentation and subsequent green light for exports by the General Customs Authority of China might be given after the slaughterhouses correct “non-conformities”. The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (Mapa) reported that it is “still awaiting the results of the assessment made by the Chinese authorities.”

Issues are minor and easy to solve

According to Guahyba, the issues detected are minor and, apparently, easily solved. From the 8 plants that were evaluated, 4 slaughterhouses in Rio Grande do Sul had at least 1 type of non-conformity pointed out. In fact, the National Union of Federal Agricultural Tax Auditors (Anffa Sindical) published a note on its website celebrating the result of the inspection last Wednesday. Valor Econômico reported that the publication was suddenly erased from their website a few hours later.

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The results of the audit are expected from China in the next few days. The Asian country is the main destination for Brazilian exports, accounting for 37% of revenue from meat shipments. From January to September, China spent US$ 4.7 billion to import approximately 1.5 tonnes of meat, according to Mapa. Among proteins, beef and pork are the most dependent on Chinese demand. In 2020, the Asian country accounted for about 45% of revenue earned by exporters of these 2 proteins.