THE Philippines has lifted its temporary import ban on Brazilian beef and cattle-derived products after Brasilia proved to Manila that the risks of importing the meat products from the Latin American country are “negligible.”
Brazil has been temporarily banned from exporting beef and cattle products to the Philippines since last month due to a confirmed outbreak of atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or commonly known as mad cow disease.
The lifting of the ban came a few days after Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said that the government has no plans yet to scrap the import ban on Brazilian beef.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) issued Memorandum Order (MO) 65, Series of 2021 on October 18 that authorized the lifting of the temporary ban on the importation of live cattle, meat and meat products derived from cattle from Brazil.
Dar, who signed the MO, explained
that the Philippines requested for “several documentary requirements” from Brazil regarding the profile of its BSE positive animals as well as the measures it undertook to eradicate the outbreaks.
Dar pointed out that Brazil had proven there is “satisfactory” evidence that importing beef and cattle-related products from the South American country pose no risks to human and animal health.
“Brazil provided supporting documents regarding the immediate and timely response after the detection of two atypical BSE cases, extensive national BSE surveillance programme and activities to maintain the negligible BSE risk status,” he said in the order.
“Based on the relevant information provided by Brazil, there is satisfactory evidence to show that the risk of importation of cattle and its related commodities is negligible and Brazil maintains to be officially recognized by OIE with negligible BSE risk status,” he added.
With the lifting of the ban, traders and importers may resume bringing in beef and other cattle-related products from Brazil subject to certain conditions stipulated under MO 65.
Under MO 65, importers can bring in “boneless beef except meat from head, industrial, sangria and neck meat” that came from cattle of all ages “devoid of any nerves and other BSE-specified risk materials.”
“The boneless beef should come only from healthy ambulatory and not downer cattle,” the document read.
“The slaughter date of the cattle or the production date of the beef shall be included in the packaging label,” it added.
The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi) had earlier warned that the temporary blanket ban on Brazilian beef products would increase the retail prices of processed goods, as manufacturers will be forced to use more expensive raw materials from Australia and the United States.
Brazil accounts for about 40 percent of the Philippines’s annual beef imports. It also supplies up to 70 percent of the raw material requirements of local meat processors.
“With the ban, meat processors will be forced to use higher priced beef from suppliers such as Australia, Ireland and the US,” the group said in a statement last month. “Hence, the increased cost of beef raw material for processed meats will be passed on to consumers in terms of higher prices, while the ban on Brazilian beef is in effect.”
The Philippines imported nearly 40,000 metric tons of beef from Brazil in January to September, based on the latest government data.