Corned beef ban lifted

Government has lifted the ban imposed last Tuesday on the importation of corned beef from Brazil, after tests revealed “no concerns about the safety” of the product here.

Senior Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr Mark Trotman today sanctioned the resumption of the importation and sale of the canned meat, telling reporters this afternoon there was no evidence of contaminated corned beef entering Barbados from South America’s largest country.

Senior Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr Mark Trotman

“I have no concerns about the safety of corned beef from a veterinary standpoint. Obviously I cannot make any categorical statements. The laboratory analysis is part of our routine investigations. These types of tests take quite a while. We have to do microbiological analyses on a large number of samples. There are 17 different brands of corned beef in Barbados and we have to take several samples from each brand. We have to do a number of different tests on them. However, based on the information that we have been able to gather, what I can tell you is that I have no concerns about the product,” Trotman said.

Barbados, which imports 99 per cent of its corned beef from Brazil, last week joined a number of Caribbean countries that banned the importation and sale of meat products from that country, after the authorities there announced that major meat processors had been “selling rotten beef and poultry”.

Brazilian police had named the food conglomerate BRF – the world’s largest meat producer – and JBS – the world’s largest food processing company by sales and the biggest poultry exporter – along with smaller companies in a two-year corruption probe.

And, according to Reuters news agency, the police had alleged that the companies had paid inspectors and politicians to overlook the processing of rotten meat and exports with fraudulent documentation and even traces of salmonella.

While Trotman said none of the establishments that produce corned beef for Barbados had been implicated in the police action, there were lingering concerns because this was an issue where federal inspectors with the Brazilian ministry of agriculture were involved in “a bit of corruption”.

“It is a systemic problem that we need to get some clarification about. So while we import probably about 99 per cent of our corned beef from Brazil, it is a massive market and one I think some importers might want to take advantage of. There is a potential systemic issue although the number of inspectors involved was very small compared with the entire Brazilian federal inspection system . . . . It is still important that we get some clarification on it. So we will be working with our regional partners to do this on a regional basis,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Retail and Distribution Committee of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry Anthony Brancker welcomed the lifting of the ban.

“We want to commend the Ministry of Agriculture for the actions it took to secure the health of Barbadians. We are thankful that the investigation was thorough and that we are going to see corned beef back on our shelves,” Brancker said.

Asked about the economic cost to the retail and distributive sector, Brancker admitted that hundreds of thousands of dollars were tied up in inventory, but said it was important to place the health of Barbadians before money.

“Even at this stage we were not really looking at the potential loss. We were looking at safeguarding the lives of Barbadians as our paramount concern. We worked along with the Ministry of Agriculture providing all of the samples necessary so that we would come to a conclusion that was in the best interest of Barbados. We were 100 per cent willing to support the sale of safe and wholesome corned beef to our customers,” Brancker said.

Last Friday, a number of supermarkets managers had told Barbados TODAY the ban had little impact because Barbadians had been moving away from corned beef and gravitating towards canned fish instead.   

6 Responses to Corned beef ban lifted

  1. Gullyboar March 28, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Look at him he is too small to make such decisions that would the w wealthy merchants who import such foods to feed the thousands of non wealthy users

  2. Sharon Taylor
    Sharon Taylor March 28, 2017 at 1:11 am

    When d Chinese start back eating this corned beef, so will I!

  3. Mr. Crowley March 28, 2017 at 6:24 am

    ” These types of tests take quite a while”….so why are you saying it’s ok to resume consumption?

    “based on the information that we have been able to gather”…..what is this information??

    “I have no concerns about the safety of corned beef from a veterinary standpoint’….

    Too many red flags…..typical Banana Republic response

  4. lime juice March 28, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    These jokers only band thee cornedbeef because them hear that it was band in another country but them don’t even know what their are looking for and probably don’t even have proper equipment to work with .Only stop thee merchants from making a sale

  5. Clemkonan March 31, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    I am learned to hear about this development and the manner in which Caribbean governments have responded and would like to offer the following advice but first, let me first state the precedent.
    Food fraud aka food adulteration is becoming a serious problem especially where it is driven by a profit motive and Barbados and the Caribbean region are a significant market for Brazilian exporters and immigration has expanded the market further in Canada for example.

    I am calling on the PM to do the following:
    1- Immediately convene a meeting of Caribbean ministers to set up a Food Safety Authority for the region and sidestep the traditional politics by offering to run it out of the Bahamas.
    2- Identify Corned beef as a high-risk food based on the volume of consumption and the potential for adulteration.
    3- Formally bring sanctions against the Brazilian government and apply a 1-year band that will be removed after that state adopts the GFSI Global Food Safety Initiative such that all exporting plants are GFSI certified ( BRC, agreeSQF, FSSC, etc)
    4-Have Brazil agrees to strengthen the GFSI standard by having their regulatory authority conduct unannounced food safety plant audits.
    5- Have Brazil compensate Barbados and the other islands affected by discounting the price of the product which should be passed onto consumers for a period of 1 year.
    6- Have the Barbados minister come clean with the citizens of Barbados and explain the types of analytical tests available and the real scope of those test including the cost of sampling such that people understand if such testing is really valuable or simply a smoke screen.

  6. Clemkonan March 31, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    I am going to check with the Canadian government on Monday to find out what is their response to this issue. I am Bajan to the bone and I buy the same product right here in Canada including luncheon meat ( more fat) which I rebranded for my kids as “Fat Man Pork”. Cancelling the ban is sets a dangerous precedent.


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