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Brazil's Meat Industries Invest in Protection Against the Pandemic

Product quality and workers' health are companies' priority
2020-11-02 11:34 910

SHANGHAI, Nov. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Brazil currently has over 365 facilities approved to export poultry meat, pork and beef; throughout 2020 it has constructed a production model that further strengthens its position as a world leader in animal protein exports. This management approach has involved investments of hundreds of millions of dollars in order to ensure the total quality of its products and the protection of employees' health, even during this pandemic, according to Apex-Brasil.

The sources of this information are the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA) and the Brazilian Beef Exporters' Association (ABIEC), which both highlight the maintenance of exports to one hundred and fifty nations (China among them) that trust in Brazil to boost their supply of food for consumers.

ABPA and ABIEC explain that a range of measures had been taken even before the first case of COVID-19 was ever reported in Brazil — in February. At that time, industry technical intelligence nuclei were set up by the companies in order to work out rapidly-deployed solutions such as the prompt exclusion of "at-risk" groups of workers (pregnant women, those aged 60 and above, and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, to name a few). 

New measures were adopted as the understanding of the virus grew worldwide. These included the installation of physical barriers to prevent contact between workers on the production line. Social distancing was also introduced in the companies' restaurants, and their capacity was doubled. Likewise, on the employee transport service (since in Brazil slaughterhouses tend to bus their employees to and from work) more buses were hired. Screening controls were introduced when all employees arrived at work. Training initiatives were held, providing guidance, and vaccination was also given against the common flu.

The sanitation routine, already performed several times a day, was intensified in the production slaughterhouses. Hand sanitizers were made available in all social areas of slaughterhouses. Possible positive cases were actively sought throughout the production system. The employees presenting COVID-19 symptoms are prevented from boarding the transportation, and all the people who have been close to these suspected cases are isolated, so that they can be kept in quarantine, and also be followed up.

Employee hygiene has always been an important precaution within the production system. With the pandemic, precautions were intensified. In addition to the special clothing already worn in slaughterhouses, workers were equipped with face masks and face shields.

The industry developed protocols validated by the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in São Paulo — one of the most prestigious health institutions in the Americas. Containing over 250 pages of the strictest guidance, the protocols were underpinned by national legislation brought in by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply and applied in Brazil's slaughterhouses.

"The guidelines of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) ensuring zero transmission risk for products, and the measures that were taken promptly by the Government, and efficiently adopted by the meat industry, have put us in a very favorable position in the supply of food so as to reassure our trading partners," says Antônio Jorge Camardelli, President of ABIEC.

"These measures are considerably stricter than those put forward by international agencies such as the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Thanks to these efforts to protect our production system, we have managed to keep up the levels of production, thereby ensuring quality and preserving the health of our employees," states Ricardo Santin, President of ABPA.

Brazil currently exports to over 150 nations on the five continents. The European Union, Japan and the United States are among the main importers of Brazil's product. However, China is the main destination for poultry, pork and beef products "made in Brazil". In 2019 alone that country received 1,328,000 tonnes of meat from Brazilian slaughterhouses. Exports are expected to be more significant still in 2020. Only in the period from January to September 2020, 2,349,000 million tonnes have been exported there. 

"We have a firm commitment to the Government and the people of China," says Santin. "This has become even clearer this year, as we have helped to reinforce the supply of products at a moment when guaranteeing food security has been strategic for overcoming the pandemic."

Here are some of the precautions taken by the slaughterhouses:

  • Employees in at-risk groups were quickly isolated;

Slaughterhouses' sanitation — which was already performed several times a day even before the pandemic — was intensified;

    • Intensified employee hygiene with the use of face masks and face shields;
    • Active monitoring in production units;
    • Measures were introduced enabling the exclusion of individuals from transport, inside restaurants and in other areas inside the slaughterhouses;
    • Introduction of protocols under the supervision of renowned health agencies;
    • The introduction of national legislation by the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, and Labor.

About Apex-Brasil

The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) works to promote Brazilian products and services abroad, and to attract foreign investment to strategic sectors of the Brazilian economy.

Apex-Brasil organizes several initiatives aiming to promote Brazilian exports abroad. The Agency´s efforts comprise trade and prospective missions, business rounds, support for the participation of Brazilian companies in major international trade fairs, arrangement of technical visits of foreign buyers and opinion makers to learn about the Brazilian productive structure, and other select activities designed to strengthen the country's branding abroad.

Apex-Brasil also plays a leading role in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to Brazil, by working to identify business opportunities, promoting strategic events and lending support to foreign investors willing to allocate resources in Brazil.

About ABPA

ABPA is the political-institutional representation of the Brazilian poultry and pork industry. It brings together more than 140 companies and entities from various links of the Brazilian poultry and pork industry, responsible for over 5 million tons in exports.

ABPA is responsible for the management, in partnership with Apex-Brasil, of the four exporting Brazilian brands in the poultry, egg and pork industries: Brazilian Chicken, Brazilian Egg, Brazilian Breeders and Brazilian Pork. Through its industry brands, ABPA promotes special actions to disseminate information about Brazilian poultry and pork products – such as quality, health status and production sustainability – and encourages new business in the egg, poultry and pork exporting chain.

About ABIEC

Created in 1979, the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (ABIEC) brings together 32 companies of the sector in Brazil, responsible for 92% of the meat traded for international markets. Its creation was a response to the need for a more active role in the beef export segment in Brazil, by defending the interests of the sector, increasing efforts to reduce trade barriers and promote domestic products.

Currently, Brazil produces around 10.4 million tonnes of beef, approximately 23.6% are traded to dozens of countries around the world, following the most stringent quality standards. In the last decade, the country has registered a 135% growth in its exports.

Source: Apex-Brasil
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