SAO PAULO (AP) - The European Union has decided to ban meat imports from 20 Brazilian plants amid concerns about sanitary controls, a move that the Latin American country plans to contest at the World Trade Organization.
The decision made by EU member states on Thursday mainly affects poultry, but will only take effect two days after it is officially published. It was not clear when that would be.
Brazilian trade organization ABPA estimates that the ban could affect 30 percent of poultry exports to the bloc. Brazilian producers who are not impacted could potentially fill that hole, the organization said Friday.
Brazil is the world's largest exporter of poultry, and its Agriculture Ministry tried to head off the decision by temporarily suspending some poultry exports to the EU last month amid questions about the presence of salmonella.
Minister Blairo Maggi also traveled to Brussels in order to assure the EU about the safety of Brazilian chicken.
But Maggi acknowledged earlier this week those efforts were unsuccessful and accused the EU of using the pretext of health concerns to unfairly block Brazilian exports.
Plants belonging to meatpacking giant BRF are among those affected, but the Agriculture Ministry and ABPA declined to give other names since the decision has not yet been published. BRF is under investigation amid suspicions it was involved in a scheme to evade safety checks.
The meatpacker has said that it is cooperating with the investigation and that it follows all Brazilian and international regulations.
Copyright 2018, Associated Press