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China suspends poultry imports from Brazilian slaughterhouse

Due to rising concerns about Covid-19 after new outbreaks in Beijing, China has revoked the export authorizations of 5 Brazilian slaughterhouses beginning July 2020, one of which was a poultry slaughterhouse.

The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply (MAPA) has officially confirmed this information. According to the Ministry, the reasons for this decision “have not been formally presented”. The Chinese General Administration of Customs (GAC) recently carried out similar measures against the United States and European countries.

A number of Brazilian processors shut down over Chinese import restrictions. Photo: Ruud Ploeg
A number of Brazilian processors shut down over Chinese import restrictions. Photo: Ruud Ploeg

Among the blocked slaughterhouses are 2 pig, 1 poultry, and 3 beef facilities. Brazilian authorities have furthermore decided to suspend an additional poultry facility on their own accord. “The Ministry has suspended exports to China by a facility whose activities have been frozen due to a judicial decision related to Covid-19 prevention among its workers,” the note read.

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Increased restrictions

After BRF and Seara were suspended, the number of Brazilian pig slaughterhouses authorized to export to China fell to 14. More than double this amount of poultry and beef facilities are allowed to export. These measures are the result of increased restrictions on Chinese imports, which the Chinese government has taken in order to mitigate the risk of a 2nd wave of Covid-19 in their country. In spite of these measures, there is still no evidence that Covid-19 can be transmitted through food.

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No scientific basis for China’s actions

According to Francisco Turra, president of the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA), there is no scientific basis for the measures taken by the Chinese government. Turra guarantees that products arriving in the Asian country have been previously analysed and do not present a risk of Covid-19 contamination. “We asked Minister Tereza Cristina to fight for our right to deliver surveyed products to Chinese ports,” he said. In addition, Turra argued that, in spite of these events, China is still the biggest importer of Brazilian pork, beef and poultry, and that the relationship between the 2 will remain “on the best possible terms”.

The following facilities were affected:

Beef

  • Agra in Rondonópolis, state of Mato Grosso
  • Marfrig in Várzea Grande, state of Mato Grosso

Poultry

  • Minuano in Lajeado, state of Rio Grande do Sul
  • Seara in Passo Fundo, state of Rio Grande do Sul (suspended by MAPA)

Pork

  • BRF in Lajeado, state of Rio Grande do Sul
  • Seara, controled by JBS, in Três Passos, state of Rio Grande do Sul