Tuesday, March 20, 2017

Gov’t begins removal exercise of all brands of corned beef imported from Brazil

Following the March 20 temporary ban on corned beef by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the National Food Safety Recall Committee held an urgent meeting on March 21, as stipulated by the National Food Safety Policy. The meeting engaged critical agencies in the implementation of the actions necessary to activate the temporary ban imposed by the Government.

The National Food Recall Committee which comprises Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) of the Ministry of Finance, scientists and technical experts of the Veterinary Services Division (VSD), Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Ministry of Health (Food Safety and Public Health) (MOH), Food Storage & Prevention of Infestation Division (FSPID) and the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) having assessed the facts will do the following:

  • Jamaica Customs Agency will stop any release of products in-country or on the high seas;
  • Batch Sampling are to be retrieved from the source (major importers only) by the BSJ and the VSD;
  • Removal and verification (of removal) to be conducted by the BSJ, FSPID, MOH, Plant Protection and Quarantine Division and the CAC; 
  • the BSJ will conduct chemical test profiles to ascertain the contents of corned beef on the market;
  • VSD of the Ministry will conduct microbiological and residue tests to ascertain whether contaminants are present in the products on the local market;
  • VSD will also send samples for DNA testing to identify the type of meat content; (Deoxyribonucleic acid is a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living)

It is important to note that the Government, through its experts in food safety and human health have had consultation with the importers and distributors and took a precautionary action in the interest of human health and safety.

In this vein, there will be a continual removal and verification of corned beef from all retail outlets in order to stem any further sale of to consumers, until sample testing of all brands of corned beef have been concluded.

The Government is committed to having the investigations concluded in the shortest possible time.

The move follows reports from Brazilian authorities that several major Brazilian meat processors have been “selling rotten beef and poultry”. The companies are also alleged to have paid hefty bribes to auditors in exchange for fraudulent sanitary licenses.

The Brazilian companies implicated by the Brazilian authorities supply 99.5 per cent of the corned beef on the local market.

Consumers are being cautioned not to consume corned beef and to retain those cans already bought until further notice.

The public will be updated through the media on the activities and outcomes of the investigations as well as further decisions taken by the Food Safety Recall Committee within the next 7-9 days.

For further information, consumers may contact:


Consumer Affairs Commission
34 Trafalgar Road I Kingston 10, JAMAICA 
Tel: 1+876-9065425 I Digicel: 1+876-6194222 I Fax: 1+876-9067525

For further clarification Importers and Distributors may contact:
Bureau of Standards Jamaica -  926-3140-5 or  618-1534