SINGAPORE supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice said on Monday (March 20) that it is aware of ongoing investigations against two companies in Brazil which supply poultry products to its stores and other retailers here, and is seeking clarification with its suppliers about the matter.
The two firms are Brazilian food giant BRF, which owns the Sadia and Perdigao brands, and JBS, a global firm in meat sales and owner of the Big Frango, Seara Alimentos and Swift brands.
The scare started on Friday when police said a two-year probe had found major meat producers bribed health inspectors to certify tainted food as fit for consumption, according to an Agence France-Presse report.
About 150 countries buy meat from Brazil, with principal markets as widespread as Singapore, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, Russia, the Netherlands and Italy. Brazil exported about US$5.9 billion (S$8.3 billion) in poultry and US$4.3 billion in beef in 2016, according to Brazilian government data.
“NTUC FairPrice is aware of ongoing investigations on JBS SA and BRF SA in Brazil,” said a spokesman in response to queries.
“As a responsible retailer, we take matters of food quality and safety very seriously. We are currently in contact with our suppliers to seek clarification from them while awaiting the investigation results from the authorities, as we monitor the matter closely.”
Meat Traders’ Association mentor Chung Suan Lim, who was also its president for eight years, said his checks with the network of importers here have turned up no complaints about imports from Brazil so far.
He noted that the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) only approves certain processing plants within these companies. Checks are also underway to see if the affected plants are those that were approved, he said.
Brazil’s President Michel Temer (left) and Angola’s ambassador to Brazil Nelson Manuel Cosme eating barbecue in a steak house in Brasilia.
Mr Chung added that Singapore imports some 70 per cent of its frozen chicken from Brazil, but this is not the case for beef.
According to the AVA’s list of approved countries to export raw and processed meat products, as well as processed eggs, to Singapore, Brazil is allowed to export beef, pork and poultry here. But the meat must be derived from AVA-approved establishments.