Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
Washington, D.C.—“Following allegations that Brazilian meat exporters bribed inspectors to approve tainted beef for sale and export, Food & Water Watch today called on USDA to revoke the equivalency determination for Brazilian meat exports to the U.S. Some of Brazil’s top meat exporters, including BRF and BJS have been implicated.
“This latest revelation of corruption—bribery, using chemicals to cover up rotten meat, sending salmonella-contaminated meat to Europe and falsifying health certificates—comes after past problems with the country’s equivalent inspections system. When it comes to food safety, Brazil has a checkered track record. In 2005, FSIS conduced five equivalency audits in Brazil. In one of these audits, FSIS learned that inspectors were not paid by the federal government and were receiving subsidized meals, transit and their medical bills covered by the companies they were inspecting. This revelation lead to the temporary suspension of meat exports to the U.S. Subsequent problems included the discovery of drug traces on Brazilian meat, as well as an outbreak of BSE.
“Suffice to say, the recent decision to allow Brazil to start exporting fresh meat to the U.S. was already controversial. The federal government absolutely needs to step up and protect Americans from potentially unsafe meat by prohibiting Brazil to import meat to the U.S.”
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-4905, [email protected]