SINGAPORE: The scandal in Brazil over allegations of tainted meat is a “localised problem” and does not affect exports to Singapore, Brazil’s ambassador to Singapore Flavio Damico told Channel NewsAsia on Monday (Mar 20).
In a telephone interview, Mr Damico said: "Brazil is a huge country and among the thousands of meat production units, only three plants have been closed. From the information I have presently, none of these plants export meat to Singapore."
His comments came after a Brazilian police probe revealed that major meat producers bribed health inspectors to certify tainted food as fit for consumption. At least 30 people have been arrested in the probe.
Brazil is the world's biggest beef and poultry exporting nation. It exports meat products to more than 150 countries, and its main markets include Singapore, China and Japan.
The government has moved to allay fears that its meat products are not safe for consumption.
"The Brazilian government places serious importance to food safety and are still investigating the matter,” Mr Damico said. “We see no reason for people to panic and we are open to working closely with the Singapore authorities to ease any worries."
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said in a statement that Singapore does not import meat from the Brazilian processing plants in the scandal.
COLD STORAGE, GIANT UNAFFECTED, FAIRPRICE CHECKING WITH SUPPLIERS
A spokesperson for Dairy Farm Singapore - the parent company of supermarket chains such as Cold Storage, Marketplace and Jason's as well as Giant hypermarkets - said it has "received assurance from our suppliers that none of their brands and products are involved in the meat scandal and that none of their plants have been closed by the authorities".
Dairy Farm also runs 7-Eleven convenience stores in Singapore.
The company added that it will work with all stakeholders to monitor the situation, and to continue with its practice of diversified sourcing.
Supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice said it is seeking clarification from its poultry suppliers while awaiting investigation results from the Brazilian authorities.
In an emailed statement on Monday, a spokesperson said: "NTUC FairPrice is aware of ongoing investigations on JBS and BRF in Brazil, which supply Frangosul and Sadia products to our stores as well as various retailers in Singapore.
"As a responsible retailer, we take matters of food quality and safety very seriously."
A spokesperson for Sheng Siong told Channel NewsAsia that the supermarket chain will seek clarifications from its supplier as well.
Sheng Siong will also "closely monitor" the situation while waiting for AVA's findings, he said.
Changi Airport’s biggest ground handler SATS, which handles baggage and passenger services such as providing inflight meals, also said it is looking into the matter.
“Food safety is a key priority for us. We are working with relevant authorities and are looking into this matter internally,” said the company’s vice-president of public affairs and branding Carolyn Khiu.
Channel NewsAsia has reached out to other supermarket chains for comment.