Switzerland extends ban on meat from Brazilian processing plants

FILE PHOTO: Workers unload packed meat from a truck in Sao Paulo

VIENNA (Reuters) – Switzerland has extended a ban on Brazilian meat to 21 processing plants from four as part of Europe-wide safety measures, Swiss authorities said on Sunday.

EU veterinary experts recommended reinforced checks on imports of meat from Brazil on Friday after an investigation began there into bribery of food inspectors.

Chief veterinary officers from the European Union’s 28 member states met in Brussels to discuss an EU response to the scandal and the risk of rotten or contaminated meat entering the bloc.

“The extension of the ban is a response to European measures, aiming to prevent the meat from reaching European Union territory via Switzerland,” a spokeswoman for Switzerland’s food safety and veterinary office said.

Switzerland banned imports from four Brazilian meat processing facilities on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear how much meat Switzerland imports from Brazil.

European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, responsible for health and food safety, will be in Brazil on Monday to discuss the issue with Brazil’s agriculture minister.

China lifted a ban on imports of Brazilian meat on Saturday after Brazilian authorities clarified details of its investigation.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; editing by Susan Thomas)