Brazil meat sold here is safe: AVA
Brazil reels from corruption scandal over sale of tainted meat
Brazilian meat sold in Singapore is safe for consumption, says the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).
It issued the reassurance yesterday after a corruption scandal broke in Brazil over the sale of rotten meat.
On Friday, Brazilian federal police raided meat-producing plants after a two-year probe found major producers had bribed health inspectors to certify tainted meat as fit for consumption.
Twenty-one meat-packing plants are being investigated, with three having closed.
The AVA said Singapore does not import meat from these plants, which are not approved to export to the Republic.
The regulator, which said only AVA-accredited sources can export meat and meat products to the Republic, has stepped up surveillance of imports from Brazil.
It is "monitoring the situation closely" and has been liaising with Brazilian authorities to get more details.
It is also working with meat importers to monitor the situation and to be prepared to ramp up alternative sources, if necessary.
Brazil's ambassador to Singapore, Mr Flavio Soares Damico, told The Straits Times that only 21 of Brazil's 4,837 slaughterhouses and meat manufacturing plants had been implicated.
BRF, the world's top poultry producer, and JBS, the world's largest beef exporter, are being investigated for corruption as they own some of the 21 plants.
The two companies supply meat to supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice and other retailers here, but The New Paper understands that the products are safe because they did not originate from any of the 21 plants.
NOT AN ISSUE
Meat Traders' Association mentor Chung Suan Lim told TNP that the meat controversy is "not a big issue" for Singapore.
He said: "There's a lot of confusion here. A lot of people don't understand that Singapore isn't affected though we import meat from Brazil."
Mr Chung added that Singapore imports 70 per cent of its frozen chicken and 54 per cent of its frozen beef from Brazil.
An NTUC FairPrice spokesman said it was aware of ongoing investigations on JBS and BRF, which respectively supply Frangosul and Sadia products to FairPrice and other retailers.
He said: "FairPrice only carries meat products from AVA-accredited sources, which are assessed based on high food safety standards.
"Our suppliers have also provided assurance that their products are safe for consumption and subject to strict quality requirements."
A spokesman for Dairy Farm Singapore, which runs supermarket chains Cold Storage and Giant, said: "We have received assurance from our suppliers that none of their brands and products are involved in the scandal, and that none of their plants have been closed by the authorities."
Mr Martin Spykerman, managing director of Brazil Churrasco, a Brazilian steakhouse here, said the restaurant imports most of its meat from Australia and New Zealand.
He told TNP: "We currently only have one cart of beef from Brazil.
"As long as AVA approves it, we are not worried."