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‘Ban on brazilian meat imports to hike retail price of canned goods’

The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi) warned that the government’s decision to ban meat imports from Brazil could result inasmuch as a 15-percent increase in the retail price of some processed-meat products sold locally.

Pampi Director Rex E.  Agarrado said removing Brazil from the list of possible sources of meat for the Philippines, just after lifting the ban on European exporters, could jack up the prices of raw materials, such as mechanically deboned meat (MDM).

“With this development, we expect a repeat of what happened in the first quarter, when chicken MDM prices doubled,” Agarrado told the BusinessMirror.

“The estimated impact of this is that, for hot dogs, the retail price could go up by 10 [percent] to 15 percent. For canned goods that are MDM-based, such as meat loaf, beef loaf and luncheon meat, prices could go up by as much as 10 percent,” he added.

Agarrado, who is also the vice president and general manager of Century Pacific Food Inc., said the price impact of the ban on MDM-based canned products is “less adverse”,  because manufacturers do not have to make use of more packaging materials.

Chicken MDM is one of the raw materials used by Pampi members in manufacturing processed-meat products.

Agarrado, a former Pampi president, also appealed to the Department of Agriculture (DA) to reconsider its zero-tolerance policy for salmonella in raw meat.

“We support 101 percent that there should be zero tolerance for salmonella for finished products, but not for raw materials that undergo a kill process,” he said.

On July 25 Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Livestock Enrico P. Garzon Jr. said they will inspect some 25 meat establishments in Brazil next month, following the temporary ban the DA imposed earlier on meat imports from the Latin American country.

Garzon said the DA will lift the export ban on meat-packing plants that will be cleared by the inspectors. Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the ban was imposed to ensure the safety of Filipino consumers. He added that his directive would pave the way for government’s inspection of Brazilian meat-packing plants.

Meat Importers and Traders Association President Jesus C. Cham urged the government to expedite its investigation, as any delays in the process could result in higher meat prices. “To minimize the impact, we urge [the] DA to inspect the plants expeditiously, at the same time adhering to the standards of the international Codex Alimentarius Commission, of which the Philippines is a member,” Cham told the BusinessMirror in an earlier interview.

Based on the list of the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) posted on its web site, as of September 2016, a total of 56 accredited Brazilian meat establishments are allowed to export meat and meat products to the Philippines. However, the NMIS noted that the accreditation of all 56 meat establishments in Brazil is “for revalidation”.

Data obtained from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) showed the Philippines imported 20,716.616 metric tons (MT) of meat and meat products from Brazil in January to May. Beef imports accounted for 31.62 percent, or 6,551.453 MT, BAI data showed.

Chicken imports accounted for more than half of the meat and meat products purchased from Brazil, or about 62.64 percent. The Philippines imported 12,977.167 MT of chicken meat and products from Brazil during the five-month period.

In 2016 Brazil exported a total of 55,581.853 MT of meat and meat products to the Philippines. This was 5.86 percent higher than the 52,505.429 MT recorded in 2015.

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