The move can be seen as a victory for the Brazilian government and its efforts to quickly stem what, at times, looked to be crisis getting out of control.
China is the second-largest frozen beef market for Brazil, with trade generating over $700m last year, according to World Trade Stats. Its move to open its market to Brazilian meat was swiftly followed by Egypt and Chile, countries that both appear in Brazil’s top 10 beef value markets.
Blairo Maggi, Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAP), said China’s decision to lift trade restrictions on meat showed the “mutual trust between the two countries”.
He also described it as a “victory” for Brazil’s food safety and sanitary controls system and said the government was “grateful for the gesture of confidence” China has shown in Brazil.
The Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture officially declared Brazilian meat safe for consumption after studies carried out by three government agencies confirmed the meat it buys from Brazil is safe for Islamic consumption.
The Agricultural and Livestock Service of Chile also announced that only the 21 meat plants currently under the scrutiny of the Brazilian government would continue to face an export ban.
In a joint statement, Brazil’s President Michel Temer and MAP Minister Blairo Maggi said Chile and Egypt’s decision to lift trade bans demonstrated Brazil’s “unequivocal willingness” to share food safety information with global trading partners.
Brazil meat scandal – state of play
After the scandal broke less than a fortnight ago, MAP launched an inspection into 21 meat plants implicated in the federal police’s investigation on 17 March. A 250-strong team have been checking manufacturing control records and raw materials, as well as assessing hygiene controls and interviewing staff at the plants. One plant manufacturing animal feed was found to be using a by-product past its expiration date. The government-led probe also identified economic fraud, such as water in chicken above the legal limit. However, the early study findings of analysed meat samples suggested there was no “abnormality” that could cause human harm, the government said. Final results will be published in two weeks’ time.