Brazil bovine meat controls ‘satisfactory’ – FVO

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

EU Exports for fresh and frozen bovine meat in 2013 was 65,879 tonnes
EU Exports for fresh and frozen bovine meat in 2013 was 65,879 tonnes

Related tags European union

Controls over production of fresh bovine meat in Brazil for export to the European Union (EU) are satisfactory, according to the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO).

Despite some shortcomings at holding and processing establishment level, a robust system of official control, verification and enforcement action, as necessary, was found during an audit.

Exports to the EU for fresh and frozen bovine meat in 2013 amounted to 65,879 tonnes with a value of €395,817m which represents an increase in the quantity of exports and their value.

At the time of the audit in October last year there were 1,622 holdings registered in the Cattle and Buffalo Identification and Certification System (SISBOV), as approved ERAS holdings (livestock holdings approved for export to the EU and included in the TRACES list).

Satisfactory assurances

The control system provides satisfactory assurances regarding compliance with the EU requirements.

It includes a robust "on the spot" verification/inspection component, underpinned by a frequent audit system of FBOs' compliance with EU requirements, and of performance of official controls at holding and establishment level.

At three of the four holdings the food and business operator (FBO) provided information on the number of animals on the holding, and documentation showed correlation with information in the SISBOV system.

At one large holding the FBO was unable to provide an accurate number for animals on the holding, including the number already identified and those not yet tagged.

“The controls regarding holding registration, identification and registration of cattle and animal movement controls on the ERAS holdings were generally satisfactory,” ​said the FVO.

“Nevertheless; very serious shortcomings on one holding…demonstrate that the systems are not fully effective.”

Microbiological testing requirements  

The Brazilian authorities have to implement microbiological testing requirements as set out in Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005, and amended procedures whilst the audit was taking place.

At all establishments more microbiological tests were done than what is legally required.

This was carcass sampling for Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) per lot of animals slaughtered, daily sampling for E. coli; E. coli STEC, Aerobic Colony Counts (ACC) and Salmonella of chilled meat to be exported to the EU.

All sampling and analysis methods followed procedures audited by the Brazilian authority in charge of laboratories (Imetro) and used analysis methods approved as equivalent by them.

When results were above the limits, examples of immediate action by the competent authority and full investigation by the FBO personnel were seen, said the FVO.

Carcass contamination was consistently highlighted as a CCP with 100% monitoring taking place at the slaughter line prior to grading and final carcass wash.

Carcass temperature control and livestock intake were covered as control points with a regular level of monitoring.

FBOs were able to make full traceability from final product to specific groups of animals brought in from ERAS approved holdings

Evidence could be seen of how the traceability system blocks the possibility of non-EU approved carcasses being diverted to EU processing at the cutting plant and how carcasses not fulfilling the Ph were also diverted from EU production​,” said the FVO.

HACCP based procedures were appropriately implemented by FBOs and so were the requirements for sampling and analysis for microbiological criteria, as set out by the Brazilian CA, which were only aligned to EU requirements at the end of this audit.”  

Due to concerns by a number of importing countries regarding follow up and communication of RASFF in Brazil, and previous FVO recommendations; the DIPOA amended internal procedures this year, focussing on the internal communication and management of alerts.

Related topics Food safety and labeling

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