ABPA slammed antidumping pressure group the Fairplay Movement for a “protectionist attitude” and “defamation” of chicken products that South Africa imports from Brazil.
Its comments came after a South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) documentary, made by Frank Ferro, alleged Brazilian chicken could be thawed and refrozen before reaching consumers.
The Fairplay Movement, which is challenging Brazilian and EU poultry dumping, due to concerns that this has created a domestic poultry crisis, used the documentary to criticise the quality of Brazilian chicken.
In response, ABPA strongly rebuked the documentary’s “biased” narrative, claiming the piece only aired the views of people who spoke unfavourably of Brazilian chicken.
A question of methodology
In a statement sent exclusively to this site, ABPA said: “We must point out the lack of clarity in the tests shown in the documentary, which do not make absolutely clear that the product tested is Brazilian in origin.”
“If the tests had been more accurate it would have been easy to detect the fact that the problematic product was very unlikely to be Brazilian. With the correct data in their possession, the documentary makers would have known that over 90% of chicken exported to South Africa by Brazil is mechanically separated meat used to make nuggets and polony.”
ABPA also criticised the “slapdash testing” used in the documentary after raw meat was removed from packaging outside a laboratory.
Chicken arrives amid domestic industry woes
“Who knows whether the gloves, the plastic used, or even the setting met sanitary standards for such a test? They probably did not. Anyway, this is irrelevant because the test does not even meet its original purpose: that of comparing imported products against local products,” ABPA said.
ABPA added that the Fairplay Movement’s statements failed to recognise that South Africa’s government controls the quality of imported products and would not allow it in the country if it were not fit for public consumption.
And given that South Africa has faced outbreaks of avian influenza and listeriosis contamination, ABPA said it was helping the country by supplying South African demand for poultry.
“Brazil is the only country among the world’s largest producers not to have had any cases of avian influenza, and seeks to plug the gaps in supply that South African producers have left – precisely because they have faced outbreaks of the disease,” ABPA added.
“That is not all: at this moment South Africa is facing the worst outbreak of listeriosis in its history, and there, Brazilian imports are playing an even greater role – that of ensuring an adequate supply of products that are completely safe, so as to feed the population.”
In response, the Fairplay Movement said: "FairPlay denies any wrongdoing in highlighting concerns about the safety of frozen imported chicken that is presented for sale to South African consumers. The Brazilian accusations are vague and embarrassing; and nothing more than a veiled attempt to intimidate FairPlay. Until all frozen chicken imports are properly labelled to ensure traceability and the safety of South African consumers, FairPlay will be watching and reporting."