Recall under way for corned beef, chicken patties and nuggets
March 21, 2017: The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries today imposed a temporary restriction on imports of all meat products from Brazil. This step is being taken as a precaution in the light of news this week of an investigation into that country’s meat industry which has raised serious health and food-safety concerns.
Earlier today, the Ministry also advised the Chemistry, Food and Drugs Division of the Ministry of Health to embark upon an immediate recall from supermarkets and other retail outlets of corned beef, chicken patties and chicken nuggets originating from Brazil. The recall does not affect meat products which do not originate from Brazil.
Also, with immediate effect, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries will stop issuing import permits for meat products from Brazil. These restrictions also apply to permits that have recently been issued, regardless of the status of these imports. This means that import permits for Brazilian meat products that are on order, in transit, landed or bonded in Trinidad and Tobago will be cancelled.
Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat is assuring the public he is working with several agencies, including the Ministries of Health, Trade, Local Government, the Customs and Excise Division, and the Consumer Affairs Division to protect consumers from potentially unsafe Brazilian meat.
Rambharat said “I want to emphasize that the products subject to recall are processed meat products only, as Trinidad and Tobago has never issued permits to import raw beef or chicken from Brazil. So while we are cancelling imports of all meat products, the food items being recalled are the corned beef, chicken patties and chicken nuggets made in Brazil.”
The regulation and enforcement of quality standards for meat products entering Trinidad and Tobago is paramount to the Ministry of Agriculture and its partner agencies.
Dubbed “Operation Weak Flesh,” the investigation by Brazilian authorities appears to have had a far-reaching impact. There are reports that major meat-processing plants in that country sold rotten beef and poultry for years, while bribing health officials to look the other way. Given the health implications, Minister Rambharat is working directly with Dr. Amery Browne, Trinidad and Tobago’s ambassador in Brazil, to be kept informed of actions being taken by the South American country to restore integrity to its valuable meat-producing sector.
In the meantime, the Ministry is concerned about the health and well-being of Trinidad and Tobago citizens. Consumers who have purchased corned beef, chicken patties or chicken nuggets made in Brazil are therefore urged to dispose of these products or to return them to the place of purchase if they are in possession of a receipt.
The Ministry is also encouraging citizens to report stores where items subject to this food-safety recall are still being sold by calling the Consumer Affairs Hotline toll-free at 800-4277.