HK recalls frozen meat imported from Brazilian plants

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Brazil is having difficulties in exporting its meat products following a scandal involving several meatpacking companies accused of adulterating expired food and paying hefty bribes to government inspectors to turn a blind eye.

The announcement of the reopening of the Chinese market to Brazilian meat imports did not come from Beijing, but from Brazilian agriculture minister Blairo Maggi who said the decision "attests to the rigor and quality of the Brazilian sanitary system".

The ministry had announced its decision to delay imports of meat and poultry products from Brazil after the Brazilian authorities suspended 33 government officials from work in a wide-scale crackdown on charges of selling rotten processed meat and poultry.

Past year it imported more than 735,000 tons worth $1.75 billion.

As for meat and poultry that has been shipped from Brazil prior to the import ban but has not yet arrived in Hong Kong, the CFS will also make special arrangements, marking and sealing the products upon their arrival for proper handling after the completion of the relevant investigation. The Brazilian authorities later imposed an export ban on 21 plants.

Brazilian President Michel Temer defended his country's meat on Friday amid scandal, saying "it is the best in the world".

"We have not stopped imports, only delayed them until the situation is clearer". The industry employs 4 million workers.

The United Arab Emirates suspended shipments from six Brazilian meat plants and told importers to recall any of their products from local stores. For both meat and poultry, China also was in second place with almost $859.5 million in imports.

Two sources in China confirmed that a ban remained in place on imports from the Seara plant, as well as any meat approved by seven Brazilian veterinary experts linked to the police investigation.

In a statement, Brazil's President Michel Temer said the moves "reaffirm the trust of the worldwide community in our sanitary control, robust and recognized around the world".

Brazil's failure to apply EU-equivalent food safety standards raises "serious concerns" about ongoing trade talks between the EU and South American trade bloc Mercosur that Brazil is part of, they said in a letter to the EU Commission.

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