Amid fears of rotten processed meat being used in its products, the Government of Jamaica has banned the importation of corned beef from Brazil – where 99.5 per cent of the local product comes from. The public is also being urged not to eat any corned beef until the relevant tests have been done.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries advised of the decision over the scandal in the South American country that has been triggered by reports from Brazilian authorities that several major Brazilian meat processors have been “selling rotten beef and poultry”.
The Brazilian companies implicated supply the 99.5 per cent of corned beef imported into Jamaica, the ministry said in a statement.
Portfolio minister Karl Samuda said an emergency meeting was called yesterday from which the following decisions were agreed:
1. A temporary hold will be placed on all permits for the import of corned beef from Brazil.
2. As a precautionary measure, all corned beef currently on the shelves will be withdrawn.
3. The National Food Recall Committee will meet immediately to determine the next steps and inform when it will be safe to consume the product.
Starting today, Samuda said the Bureau of Standards Jamaica will conduct chemical tests to ascertain the contents of corned beef on the market.
Speaking on RJR 94FM yesterday, permanent secretary in the ministry, Donovan Stanberry, said the decision was a precautionary one and that the distributors were in agreement.
Last week, the Brazilian police named BRF (the world’s largest meat producer) and JBS (the biggest poultry exporter), along with smaller companies in a two-year corruption probe, Reuters news agency reported.
The police allege that the companies paid inspectors and politicians to overlook the processing of rotten meat and exports with fraudulent documentation and even traces of salmonella.
China and the European Union have curtailed meat imports from Brazil.