Brazilian meat exports recovering from ‘weak flesh’ crisis
The Brazilian poultry industry suffered a huge reputation hit this year, but little by little its fortunes are being restored.
It is taking some time for the Brazilian poultry industry to recover from Operation Weak Flesh, which alleged fraud and the sale of meat unfit for human consumption.
Read the entire report about Operation Weak Flesh exclusively in the September issue of Poultry International.
The “unprecedented image crisis” saw losses for the pig and poultry industries reach US$40 million within a week of the news breaking.
However, Brazilian poultry meat exports are forecast to rise by 1 percent this year. Although poultry meat exports are rising month by month, figures for June this year show volumes were still almost 10 percent below those of June 2016.
Yet a steady recovery of lost ground is occurring.
The findings of Operation Weak Flesh, conducted by the country’s federal police, first became public in mid-March, and included allegations that, across the meat industries, Brazil had been selling substandard meat and that the meat inspection service was corrupt.
Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture moved quickly to investigate the allegations, launching its own task force of 250 inspectors to look at containers of already processed meat, slaughterhouses and to investigate the meat inspection service itself.
It found that, where problems existed, they were administrative rather than quality or food-safety related, and that rather than malpractice being common across the meat inspection service, the problems identified related to a small number of individuals, not the inspection service as a whole.
Nevertheless, the damage had been done and, by the end of March, 20 markets had completely suspended imports of Brazilian meat and more than double that number has introduced partial bans.
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