Enhanced checks on beef, poultry and other meat products imported from Brazil will no longer be conducted after a Defra issued new advice last month (July 2023).
The requirement was introduced after the Brazilian government conducted operation 'Carne Fraca' in 2017, which uncovered allegations of fraud within the country's meat industry. However, following the completion of an audit that took place in Brazil during October 2022, Defra has released its new recommendations.
Across an 11-day trip, auditors visited Brazilian authorities responsible for food safety, as well as eight abattoirs, four laboratories, two certification centres and two farms. The subsequent audit report advised that enhanced checks were no longer necessary.
The reversal means that meat products shipped into England, Scotland and Wales will no longer face Salmonella testing prior to leaving Brazil and following arrival in Britain. Added certification is also no longer mandatory, while certain meat production sites in Brazil can be re-listed.
According to Defra, the number of incidents of non-compliance with regulations between 2020 and 2022 has been “consistently low”, with a total of just 12 recorded.
Since the implementation of the stricter checks in 2017, Brazilian authorities introduced additional risk mitigation laws in line with EU requirements. Lawmakers then carried out a restructure of the central competent authority and brought in a tranche of measures to improve oversight and control of meat production.
“The audit found that the Brazilian competent authorities have made significant progress in correcting the systemic failings in the framework of controls, and the application of those controls, that led to the imposition of enhanced salmonella controls for poultry meat and poultry and beef meat products and preparations and the suspension of pre-listing of beef and poultry establishments,” the report stated.
The audit finished with 18 recommendations for how imports should be policed moving forwards and invited the central competent authority of Brazil to respond the report with an action plan.
In other news, the Chilled Food Association has issued new guidance on the management of Listeria monocytogenes within ready-to-eat food production.