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Meat Inspection Investigation in Brazil

On March 17, reports emerged about a criminal investigation into meat inspection practices and some Brazilian processing facilities. In response, some countries announced temporary suspensions – either on a nationwide or plant-specific basis – of meat imports from Brazil.

China, Chile and Hong Kong were the major destinations for Brazilian red meat that announced temporary import suspensions, but these were lifted after a few days. The European Union announced a plant-specific suspension (Brazil actually stopped signing certificates for the EU before the EU suspended the plants), as well as recommending heightened import inspections. Singapore and the United States announced heightened inspection rates for meat imports from Brazil. South Korea also announced a plant-specific import suspension and heightened inspection rates, but these measures currently impact only poultry imports as Brazil is not eligible to ship beef or pork to South Korea.

The immediate effect on global meat trade appeared to be fairly modest and temporary. Since that time, however, the United States has suspended imports of fresh/frozen Brazilian. Other trading partners, including the European Union, have further heightened their import safeguards on incoming shipments from Brazil.