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Brazilian poultry initiative moves to next phase in Europe

ABPA hoping new scientific committee can help rebuild consumer confidence

Following a tough couple of years for Brazilian poultry exporters to Europe, efforts to rebuild consumer confidence should take a step forward next week as a new scientific committee starts its work.

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Set up as part of an initiative by the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA), the committee will hold its first meeting on Monday (July 1).

In an emailed statement to IEG Vu, the ABPA stresses that the committee is an independent body set up to “promote complete transparency, and confidence that best practice standards are maintained in the Brazilian poultry industry”.

It says the main role of the committee will be to provide it with “scientific analysis, recommendations and opinions, with a focus on maintaining the high standards already in place and continue to meet the European market needs in terms of environment, food safety, animal health and welfare, and consumers’ expectations”.

After discussing its aims and objectives next week, a second follow-up meeting will be held in August 2019. 

European experts

The scientific committee consists of five industry experts, including Nigel Gibbens – until recently the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer. It also includes Birgitta Staaf Larssona qualified officer at the Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare, along with her colleague Elina Asbjer, who specialises in antimicrobial resistance. 

“We are really excited that the scientific committee is kicking off its first meeting next month. It’s a key step in objectives we set out to achieve just over a year ago, and we’re delighted with the members we’ve got on board the committee,” said Ricardo Santin, Executive Director at ABPA.

“With vast experience and a desire to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare and practices in the industry, these are the best people for the job and we look forward to working with the scientific committee.”

The EU last year suspended chicken meat imports from 20 Brazilian poultry establishments, more than half of which are owned by BRF – the country’s largest supplier.

Brazil has responded by improving controls on Salmonella and other food safety threats. There has since been a dramatic fall in the number of Brazilian shipments rejected at EU ports.

Meeting in Brussels

Brazilian Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina this week put the case for relaxing current import restrictions in a meeting with EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis.

Although no concrete advances were reported, Cristina said she had explained how Brazil has made “significant advances with the governance and transparency of its sanitary controls”. In a tweet on the meeting, Andriukaitis said it was “important to continue the dialogue on common issues related to food safety matters”.

The scientific committee follows several projects the ABPA has undertaken to demonstrate its commitment to improving standards in the Brazilian poultry industry. These include an in-depth on-site analysis earlier this year, as well as a 2018 study that analysed the needs and concerns of European markets.

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