Brazil rotten meat scandal shows importance of UK's 'safe and secure' food source, NFU says

Brazil’s rotten meat allegations underline importance of UK trade deals, the NFU has said (Photo: Beef cattle in Brazil)
Brazil’s rotten meat allegations underline importance of UK trade deals, the NFU has said (Photo: Beef cattle in Brazil)

Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter of red meat, is at the centre of international attention due to a widespread beef scandal that could seriously damage the country’s reputable sector.

Top meat-packers in Brazil have been accused of selling rotten produce for years.

Raids by police on Friday (17 March) investigated whether companies paid bribes to conceal unsanitary conditions at meatpackers.

Meat giants JBS, the world's largest meat producer, and BRF were among more than 20 companies targeted in the raids.

Brazil's President Michel Temer tried to reassure partners on Sunday 19 March

President Michel Temer, confronting the corruption scandal tarnishing Brazil's lucrative meat industry, met on Sunday (19 March) with executives and foreign diplomats to assuage health concerns tarnishing a sector responsible for $12 billion in annual exports.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has today highlighted the importance of securing trade deals which uphold the high standards of British food production amid these allegations about Brazil.

The NFU says that Britain has one of the safest and most traceable food systems of any country in the world.

Post-Brexit, it says, it is vital that trade deals which involve importing food products from other countries, such as Brazil, do not undermine this.

'Safe and secure food source'

NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “Trade is an incredibly important issue for the future of British food in this country and for the people who produce it.

“News that the world’s largest red meat exporter could be involved in exporting rotten meat shows how important it is to have a secure and safe source of food in the UK.

“We have some of the highest animal welfare and environmental standards in the world. Food produced in this country is traceable and how it’s produced is independently audited by assured schemes like the Red Tractor.

“Trade agreements with countries across the globe must be balanced – with the same conditions applying to food imports and exports. Protecting the standards adhered to by British farmers and the transparency across the supply chain is essential for the public who want to buy safe and traceable food.

“Independent surveys show that 86% of shoppers want to buy more British food. This demand can be met by Britain’s farmers. But any trade deal entered into post-Brexit must ensure farming can be profitable, competitive and productive.”