The Chinese government has suspended imports of pork and poultry from the BRF unit in Lucas do Rio Verde (MT), as reported on the official website of the General Administration of Customs of China (Gacc) published on Tuesday , 3. The Chinese reported that the purchase interruption takes effect today, without signaling when business can be resumed. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, problems in transporting the products to the Asian country would have motivated the decision.
In a statement, BRF said that it learned of the decision through the Gacc website and that it will take the appropriate measures and “will work to reverse the situation with the Chinese and Brazilian authorities.” The company stressed, however, that it has not yet been officially notified of the suspension. “BRF reinforces that it has confidence in its rigorous food safety and quality processes and reaffirms its commitment to continue improving internal controls to ensure the highest standards of quality and safety.”
In a note sent to Estadão/Broadcast, the Ministry of Agriculture said that the suspension announced today would have been caused by problems identified in the transport of products to the Asian country. According to the folder, the information was given by a Chinese official, after the publication of the embargo on the official website of the Gacc. “The company will draw up an action plan to prevent events like these from happening again, and this information will be forwarded to the Chinese authorities with the necessary agility,” he added in the statement.
The Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) said, also in a note sent to Estadão/Broadcast, which will support BRF in reversing the suspension of imports at its Lucas do Rio Verde unit. “ABPA reinforces the high quality standards of the sector and of BRF and the excellence of Brazilian products exported to more than 150 nations on five continents, supporting the food security of millions of people around the world”, he stated. And he added that he is confident that exports to the Chinese market will be re-established soon.
BRF’s plant in Lucas do Rio Verde was authorized to export to China in September 2019 and also produces to South Africa and Canada. It is one of the company’s units whose operation is 100% digital and receives constant investments. At the beginning of last month, for example, the company announced that it is going to invest R$ 670 million in the operation in Mato Grosso, between the Lucas do Rio Verde and Nova Mutum factories, to modernize and expand production.
Ministry tries to intervene
The Asian country has been suspending, since last year, purchases of refrigerators from several countries. The justification would be greater sanitary control, due to the covid-19 pandemic. The last suspension of a Brazilian refrigerator took place in September last year, but on a temporary basis. At the time, Gacc stopped buying a beef plant from Minerva Foods for a week.
The relations of slaughterhouses with China have been discussed by the sector with Minister Tereza Cristina. Last week she met with representatives of slaughterhouses to discuss new qualifications. Also last week the Ministry of Agriculture informed the Estadão/Broadcast that China had agreed to resume the analysis of authorization requests from Brazilian slaughterhouses. According to the note, that work had been suspended since the beginning of the pandemic, with the Gacc more focused on prevention and control of covid-19.
At the time, the ministry also said that 56 plants are awaiting analysis for qualification by the Chinese government, but, to continue the process, they need to update technical information, including controls implemented to prevent the coronavirus.
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