The government has said consumers should not consume corned beef until further notice. A ban has been placed on the importation of corned beef and the product has been ordered removed from supermarket shelves pending the outcome of a battery of tests.
The Bureau of Standards will conduct chemical test profiles to ascertain the contents of corned beef on the market and the Veterinary Services Division of the Agriculture Ministry will conduct micro-biological and residue tests, to ascertain whether contaminants are present in the products on the local market.
Almost all of the corned beef imported to Jamaica comes from the meat processing plant alleged to be involved in the sale of rotten beef and poultry.
The Brazilian company is alleged to have paid hefty bribes to auditors in exchange for fraudulent sanitary licenses.
Director of Veterinary Service Dr Osbil Watson says representatives from the ministry are expected to contact officials in Brazil to get further details on the situation.
Dr Watson says the ministry cannot state at this time, if corned beef already in the island is affected.
The ministry says the National Food Recall Committee will meet immediately to determine next steps and inform when it will be safe to consume the product.
Meanwhile, local food company Lasco says it has complied with the ban on corned beef imported from Brazil.
This following a directive from the agriculture ministry issued yesterday to all local distributors of corned beef.
In a statement Lasco says it will immediately halt all sales of Lasco corned beef products.
These products will also be removed from store shelves in keeping with the ministry’s temporary and precautionary ban, pending the outcome of further investigations.
Lasco says it is cooperating fully with the governing bodies by providing information related to supplies of shipments for an assessment.
Simultaneously, Lasco says it is conducting its own investigations.