Bruna Garcia Fonseca
Dubai – The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has temporarily suspended poultry export authorizations for two plants owned by the major Brazilian animal protein company BRF. The units in the municipalities of Dois Vizinhos and Francisco Beltrão got suspended on February 10, according to the SFDA website.
Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA) CEO Ricardo Santin told ANBA that the authority did not cite the reasons behind the ban. “We don’t know why they decided to do it, but we’re working to get a meeting with the Saudi authorities, and Brazil’s ambassador to Riyadh [Marcelo Della Nina] is expected to have this meeting soon. We always comply with all their rules and procedures, so we do not see any reason for this. We hope the plants will get cleared as soon as possible,” said Santin during the opening day of Dubai food industry show Gulfood. The ABPA has brought 14 companies to the show, alongside the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).
Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce secretary-general Tamer Mansour also attended the trade show, and said the organization is working to find out why the ban was put in place, and to make sure the plants get ok’d again. “We’re scheduling a meeting with our Embassy in Saudi Arabia, with our agricultural attaché, and with the SFDA so we can figure this out. No reason has come up yet, and be aware that we’ve lost 20% of total sales to Saudi Arabia with the ban on these two plants,” said Mansour.
BRF declined to comment.
Ambassador Della Nina is in charge of diplomacy in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Mansour is heading to Riyadh on Thursday (20) to invite authorities to join the Brazil & Arab Countries Economic Forum next April in São Paulo.
Poultry exports from Brazil to Arab countries were down 3.5% year-on-year in January to 97,952 tonnes, as per ABPA numbers.
Sales were down 9% to 35,150 tonnes to Saudi Arabia, and down 18% to 21,100 tonnes to the United Arab Emirates – the second biggest Arab buyer of Brazilian poultry.
Note: the day after this story got published, BRF put out a press release on the subject, stating that it will source product from its other plants to sell to Saudi Arabia. It also said it’s working with the authorities to shed light on events, and that it has expanded its control, compliance and quality systems.