Philippines halt Brazilian poultry imports due to coronavirus scare

Philippines halt Brazilian poultry imports due to coronavirus scare
Photo: Anton Zolotukhin/Shutterstock

The Philippines decided this Friday to temporarily halt Brazilian poultry imports after Chinese authorities said they had identified traces of the coronavirus in frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil.

“With the recent reports from China and in compliance with the country’s Food Safety Act to regulate food business operators and safeguard Filipino consumers, the temporary ban on the import of chicken meat is imposed,” said the country’s Department of Agriculture in a statement sent to Reuters.

Between January and July 2020, Brazil exported USD 31.5 million to the Philippines in poultry products, according to government data.

On Thursday, authorities in the Chinese city of Shenzhen announced they had found traces of the virus in frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil. China did not disclose the brand of the contaminated products. According to Brazilian news website G1, the contaminated products came from the state of Santa Catarina, from a slaughterhouse owned by food company Aurora. 

In reaction to the Chinese announcement, the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) said in a statement that “it remains unclear where the possible contamination might have occurred — and whether it happened during transportation.” 

The association, which represents one of Brazil’s most important sectors, also said that the transmission of Covid-19 in food is negligible, following similar announcements from the World Health Organization (WHO). This afternoon, ABPA had not yet posted a statement in relation to the Philippines’ decision. 

On Thursday, reporter José Roberto Castro showed that concerns of contamination in Brazilian slaughterhouses and meat processing plants are not new. Six Brazilian abattoirs, most of them in the country’s southern region, are already banned from selling to Chinese customers due to worries about contamination among the plant’s staff.

Support this coverage →Support this coverage →