The Department of Agriculture is awaiting the response of Brazilian authorities on the Philippines’ request for information concerning its quality control procedures in processing chicken products for export to countries outside Brazil including the Philippines.
This, following the DA’s recent move to impose a temporary ban on chicken imports from Brazil after China imposed its own ban following claims that it exported poultry products that had traces of COVID-19.
The Brazil Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) is expected to provide documentation of its compliance to good manufacturing practices before the Philippines lifts its temporary ban, according to Noel Reyes, DA spokesperson.
The country relies on Brazil for 20 percent of its total poultry imports.
“Ang main issue natin dito, noong in-accredit natin itong mga foreign meat establishments, kung saan kinakatay at pina-process itong manok na ito, isa sa mga basehan natin diyan ay good manufacturing practice. Dito sa good manufacturing practice, niri-require natin ang mga planta na ito na healthy ang mga manggagawa na nandon sa loob,” Reyes said.
He said that the ban will stay while the Philippine side is awaiting the response from MAPA.
“The ban stays while we are waiting for documents coming from meat processing facilities kung saan doon sa Brazil, ang kanilang factory workers ay may COVID-19,” he said.
National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) director Dr. Reildrin Morales added that the Philippines is more interested about what the Brazilian government has done to address their local problem.
“Di pa tayo sa issue ng transmission ng COVID from food to human. Ang hinihingi (information) ay ilang planta ba o manggagawa ang nagkaroon ng COVID at ano yong ginawa niyong aksyon dito sa mga plantang ito. This is in accordance sa ating accreditation process,” he said.
According to the statement released by DA on Tuesday, Brazil’s MAPA is requested to submit documentary requirements of the following:
• List of foreign meat establishments (FMEs) exporting to the Philippines, which reported COVID-19 cases, since March 2020;
• Copies of MAPA-issued national guidelines on the control and prevention of COVID-19 cases in meat establishments (including protocol for resumption of operations);
• MAPA procedures or protocols in monitoring COVID-19 cases in meat facilities;
• Certified copies of food safety manuals (particularly on their protocol for COVID-19) of BRF (JBS), Seara and Aurora FMEs, that are reported banned by China;
• Current rate of COVID testing on meat establishment workers; and
• Revised guidelines for the production, packaging, and storage of poultry mechanically deboned meat (MDM).
Brazil has the world’s second-worst COVID-19 outbreak, reporting more than 3.2 million cases and more than 105,000 deaths, since the start of the pandemic.