Rambharat: Corned beef ban stays, for now
A current ban on Brazilian meats, including corned beef, remains in place in Trinidad and Tobago.
This according to a statement issued Wednesday by Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat, who says government is still in talks with the Brazilian government regarding food safety standards.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries said it is aware that the governments of Barbados and Jamaica this week lifted bans on imports of Brazilian corned beef.
However, as a precaution, the temporary restriction on corned beef imports and retail sales remains in force for Trinidad and Tobago.
Rambharat said since the allegations were raised last month regarding major Brazilian meat producers, he has been speaking with Brazilian authorities via Dr Amery Browne, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador in Brazil, about the safety of corned beef, chicken patties and chicken nuggets made in that country.
Ambassador Browne has held meetings and exchanged correspondence with officials of Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Farming to fully understand the actions being taken by the South American country to restore confidence in its meat-producing sector.
He said pending the outcome of those talks it will be decided whether or not to lift the ban, once the Ministry is "fully satisfied that the affected products - corned beef, chicken patties and chicken nuggets - pose no risk to local consumers".
Additionally, following discussions with the Ministry of Health, the Chemistry, Food and Drug Division pathogen testing of Brazil-made corned beef, chicken patties and chicken nuggets was undertaken to rule out contamination and ensure the products meet health standards.
Rambharat said the full results of these tests will be revealed once pathogen testing is complete.
Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries stopped issuing import permits for meat products from Brazil and advised the Chemistry, Food and Drug Division of the Ministry of Health to immediately recall from supermarkets and other retail outlets corned beef, chicken patties and chicken nuggets originating from Brazil.
That action followed an investigation by Brazilian authorities that claimed major meat-processing plants in the country sold rotten beef and poultry for years while bribing health officials to issue fraudulent inspection reports.
Minister Rambharat and officials from the Ministries of Health and Trade subsequently met with President of the Supermarket Association Dr Yunus Ibrahim and other Association members, and local importers of corned beef and chicken products from Brazil.
The meeting was called to give importers and distributors the opportunity to discuss the recall and have concerns relating to its implementation addressed.