July 26, 2011

Russia Continues to Ban Meat Exports from Three Brazilian States

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

On June 15th, Russian authorities surprised Brazilian meat exporters by declaring the 85 meat processing facilities no longer conformed to their sanitary requirements and that the plants were no longer eligible to export their products to Russia. The banned products included beef, pork, chicken, and turkey. The majority of the banned processing plants were located in the states of Mato Grosso, Parana, and Rio Grande do Sul. Russia is the largest importer of Brazilian meat accounting for US$ 2 billion in sales in 2010. Pork was the product affected the most because Russia accounts for 40% of Brazil's pork exports.

Two weeks ago a delegation from Brazil met with their Russian counterparts in an effort to resolve the impasse. The Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Wagner Rossi, said that Russian officials assured him that they would have a response to Brazil's request to recertify the processing plants within two weeks. He reiterated that of the 210 meat processing facilities in Brazil that were certified to export to Russia, only 85 were affected by the ban.

In April, Russian officials inspected 29 processing facilities in Brazil and determined that 19 of those facilities did not meet their standards. Since most of the facilities were located in the states of Mato Grosso, Parana, and Rio Grande do Sul, the Russian officials took the steps to ban most of the meat processed in these three states. The 19 non-conforming facilities affected 66 other plants that supplied them and 75% of the banned facilities are located in these three states.

Meat exports may resume from these facilities at a future date, but nothing is expected to happen until August at the earliest. Although Russian officials insist that the ban was the result of sanitary practices at the plants, Brazilian officials suspect ulterior motives were involved.