Vietnam bans meat import from Brazil due to rancid product scandal

By Anh Minh   March 24, 2017 | 10:32 am GMT+7
Vietnam bans meat import from Brazil due to rancid product scandal
Employees are seen during a technical visit of Brazil's agriculture minister at the Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA on March 21, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino

The suspension targets 21 firms accused of paying bribes to export substandard products.

Vietnam has suspended the import of meat and poultry products from Brazil amid accusations that processors in the Latin American country have been selling substandard, unsafe products.

The suspension came into effect Thursday against the products imported from 21 slaughtering and processing businesses in Brazil, which have been under probe for selling rancid products, the agriculture ministry said in a directive, which also named the 21 companies.

The ministry has assigned its animal health department to monitor any Vietnam-bound shipments loaded in Brazil before March 23. Vietnam is a tiny buyer of meat and poultry products from Brazil, the world’s top producer of beef and poultry.

Following a two-year investigation, Brazil’s federal police last week accused more than 100 people, mostly health inspectors, of taking bribes and allowing the sale of the poor quality products, falsifying export documents and failing to inspect meat packing plants, Reuters reported. 

BRF and JBS, the world’s biggest meat producers, are among the firms targeted in the police investigation into what would be the biggest scandal to hit Brazil’s agricultural sector. Both companies have denied any wrongdoing.

Many countries have banned Brazilian meat due to the revelations, which could bring an economic damage of $1.5 billion in sales to Brazil, AFP reported. 

Vietnam has imported around 3,000 tons of meat and meat products from Brazil so far this year, compared with 6 million tons of the products exported by Brazil annually, the animal health department has said. 

Two-way trade between Vietnam and Brazil stood at $2.29 billion in the first nine months of last year, down 15.7 percent against the same period in 2015, with Vietnam's imports totaling $1.35 billion, Vietnam Customs data showed.