HONG KONG – Hong Kong, the second largest importer of Brazilian beef after China, agreed to immediately suspend the import of this meat as a precautionary measure, following a rotten meat scandal.
Hong Kong’s Center for Food Safety of the Environmental Hygiene Department announced the measure Tuesday after China, the European Union and Chile imposed similar bans on beef imports from Brazil after Brazilian authorities had revealed that some meat producers may have bribed officials to sell and export contaminated meat.
The CFS said in a statement that it has agreed to suspend imports of frozen and fresh beef, veal and poultry from Brazil with immediate effect.
Two of the main supermarket chains in Hong Kong withdrew Brazilian beef from their shelves immediately and agreed to send samples of the products to CFS.
The CFS has also notified Brazilian authorities about the ban and said that despite assurances from them, they will continue with stringent checks on meat and poultry from Brazil to safeguard food safety and public health.
In 2016, Hong Kong had imported $718 million worth of beef from Brazil, becoming its second largest market after China.
The Federal Police of Brazil had last week discovered irregularities involving public officials, who were bribed by executives of some of the country’s largest meat producing companies to greenlight contaminated meat.
The Brazilian government Tuesday attributed the case to corruption and said it has nothing to do with public health or lack of inspection.