The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries yesterday lifted the ban on corned beef imported from South American country Brazil, but some consumers are insisting that they will no longer buy the product.
Portfolio Minister Karl Samuda told journalists during a press briefing at the ministry’s Hope Gardens office in St Andrew that the ministry’s technical team visited Brazil and was able to establish that the sources of Brazilian corned beef imported into the country were not compromised.
“All corned beef en route to the island will be cleared and all stocks now being held in quarantine will be released for distribution and consumption,” Samuda said.
Brazil supplies 99.5 per cent of the corned beef sold in Jamaica.
Manufacturing and distribution companies welcomed the move, noting that they have long declared that their corned beef suppliers in Brazil are not under investigation by authorities there.
The ministry last month placed a temporary ban on the importation of the product following reports from Brazilian authorities that several major meat processors in that country had been selling tainted beef and poultry. The companies were also alleged to have paid hefty bribes to auditors in exchange for fraudulent sanitary licences.
The prolonged ban threatened a trade row between the two countries as both sides took hard positions on the measure.
The Brazilian Embassy had asked the Jamaican government to lift what it described as a “unilateral ban”, pointing out that none of the 21 meat-processing companies was under investigation in Brazil for selling rotten beef and poultry export to Jamaica.
However, Samuda had insisted that the ban on the product, more popularly known as “bully beef” in Jamaica, would remain in place until relevant tests had been completed.
Yesterday’s announcement of the ban lift was protested by scores of Jamaicans, including Jamaica Observer online readers who were adamant that they will refrain from consuming the product.
“Damage is already done, plus it expensive and unhealthy as hell. I know for sure that I won’t be eating it ever again,” Mark Robinson said.
Another reader, Andrea Henry, echoed that she is still not interested in eating the product.
“It’s still not gonna be sold as often as before. Plus, it’s not so cheap anymore anyways,” Rochelle Williams added.
“Dem can lift ban all dem want, I not buying, worse like how my pickney dem no eat it,” another reader said.
Marketing manager at LASCO Distributors Limited Kelia-Gaye Dunbar told the Observer that, while the company anticipates that it will take some time for sales and distribution to normalise, it believes that corned beef sales will pick up, given that it is a meal staple.