New rules to restrict bringing cheese and meat into Brazil

. May 17, 2019
imported cheese ham brazil

Since 2016, people coming to Brazil enjoyed a rare benefit when it came to restrictions on food and drink permitted in luggage. Artisanal cheeses and cured meat products, so often turned away at customs desks around the world, were perfectly legal to bring into Brazil. In fact, providing the products were for personal consumption, travelers had the right to up to ten kilos of meat products—including cured pork and even raw vacuum-packed beef—and five kilos of cheese. That’s a lot of Parmigiano Reggiano.

These golden days are over, however, as the Ministry of Agriculture published a new normative instruction this week to regulate (and restrict) the entry of meat and dairy into Brazil. Now, any artisanal products with ingredients of animal origin will be barred from entering the country, regardless of weight.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That means that if you&#8217;re coming back to Brazil with a delicious hunk of mature English cheddar, a homemade Italian salami, a wedge of French Mimolette cheese, or packages of </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">jamón ibérico</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from Spain, you might as well wolf them down on the plane. If encountered by customs agents, your expensive cheese and meats will be &#8220;seized and destroyed.&#8221;</span></p> <p><img loading="lazy" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-17576" src="" alt="mimolette cheese" width="1024" height="683" srcset=" 1024w, 300w, 768w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <h2>Labeling restrictions</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The latest rule change goes even further, establishing restrictions even for industrialized products with ingredients of animal origin. These items must have a clear label either in Portuguese, Spanish, English, or French in order to gain entry.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gummy sweets from Germany? Tubes of Swedish Kaviar? Or maybe some packs of exotic Japanese ramen? Unless the label is translated into one of the four aforementioned languages, forget about it.</span></p> <h2>What&#8217;s the beef?</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The justification for this and other similar regulations around the world concerns reducing the risk of introducing potentially harmful bacteria across borders. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the case of this particular rule, Brazil&#8217;s Ministry of Agriculture is focusing its attention on banning the entry of pork products from countries which have registered cases of African Swine Fever in the last three years. The majority of nations on this list are, in fact, African, but it also includes China, Russia, Belgium, and several Eastern European countries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">&#8220;This new norm increases the country&#8217;s security,&#8221; said Geraldo Moraes, the officer of Animal Health and Farming Inputs of the Department of Agriculture Defense. &#8220;It makes it quicker to define which products are authorized to enter Brazil in travelers&#8217; baggage, mainly taking into account the type of product and the animal health situation of the country of origin.&#8221;</span></p> <p><b>The Brazilian Report</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> contacted the Ministry of Agriculture for further clarification on the measure, but the request for information was not fulfilled in time for publication.</span></p> <h2>Brazil on the Record</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This latest Normative Instruction was published this week on Brazil&#8217;s Federal Register, where all official governmental and ministerial acts must be posted. If something is not on the Federal Register, it doesn&#8217;t exist—as far as the Brazilian government is concerned.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unfortunately, due to the thick legalese and pages after pages of seemingly inconsequential information, the Federal Register does not make for easy reading, even for native Portuguese speakers. As a result, many measures, such as this one, go unreported by the press.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This year, <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong> launched &#8220;<a href="">Brazil On The Record</a>,&#8221; a weekly newsletter translating, compiling, and explaining all of the relevant info on the Federal Register. Every Saturday, subscribers receive Brazil On The Record in their email inboxes, keeping you up to date with all the goings-on in the country.

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Euan Marshall

Originally from Scotland, Euan Marshall is a journalist who ditched his kilt and bagpipes for a caipirinha and a football in 2011, when he traded Glasgow for São Paulo. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, he authored a comprehensive history of Brazilian soccer entitled “A to Zico: An Alphabet of Brazilian Football.”

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