A temporary ban imposed on corned beef from Brazil last month has been lifted.
The ban was imposed on March 22, 2017, following international concerns relating to the unwholesomeness of meat and meat products from Brazil and the confirmation of a criminal investigation named “Operation Weak Flesh” by the Brazilian Government.
The police investigation involved more than 100 people, mostly meat inspectors, accused of taking bribes in exchange for allowing the sale of rancid products, falsifying export documents or failing to inspect meatpacking plants at all.
The Ministry of Health & Wellness, in collaboration with the Veterinary and Livestock Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Consumer Affairs Division of the Ministry of Commerce continued to monitor the situation in Brazil since Saint Lucia imposed the temporary ban.
Chief Environmental Health Officer, Wenn Gabriel, said that a joint meeting to discuss the recent ban concluded that the current risk of exposure of the Saint Lucia public to unwholesome meat and meat products from Brazil was low.
Gabriel explained that the conclusion was reached after considering a number of factors.
He said they included the following:
1 No meat processing establishment under investigation in ‘Operation Weak Flesh’ had exported corned beef or any other meat or meat products to Saint Lucia over the last six (6) months.
2 Following weeks of investigation involving thorough inspections of food outlets throughout Saint Lucia, no corned beef products associated with the suspect batches were found on the market.
3 Information received from the Brazilian government and other regional authorities support the finding that there is not a significant risk of exposure to the unwholesome corned beef and meat products in question.
The Chief Environmental Health Officer noted that in addition to lifting the corned beef ban, all of the product which had been placed on detention has been released.
The assurance has been given that the situation will continue to be monitored, while the authorities work collaboratively with local and regional partners to ensure public health and safety.