Brazil auditors protest to affect meat health certification for another 8 days

Credit: REUTERS/Nacho Doce

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Brazil health auditors who oversee meat plants will continue to delay the issuance of international health certificates pending talks with the government next week as they protest work conditions, an association representing the auditors said on Wednesday.

Janus Macedo, head of the Anffa labor union group, said that legally auditors have up to five days to complete a number administrative talks, including issuance of such certificates. As a form of protest for better work conditions, he said they plan to continue using all of that time.

"We are doing this firstly to draw attention to the deficiency in the number of auditors, and secondly to push for the restructuring of our career," Macedo said by telephone.

Among other demands, Macedo said the government needs to raise the number of federal health auditors by at least 1,700 to keep up with Brazil's $23 billion meat export industry.

At the moment there are a total of around 2,300 health auditors and they are "overburdened," he said.

Meatpackers are worried because delays in the issuance of international health certificates can disrupt trade and meat supplies, according to industry lobby ABPA.

"The mobilization immediately puts live cargo at risk and compromises the import and export of genetic material, which are highly sensitive to transit time," said ABPA. "In the short term, the delay in production lines could impact product supply."

Macedo denied any delays to issue international health certificates for perishable consignments like fertile eggs and one-day chicks, which need to be cleared for shipment on the same day.

Anffa's labor action began at the end of January, ABPA said.

After a meeting with Brazilian Agriculture Minister Carlos Favaro on Wednesday, Macedo told Reuters that new talks with the government will take place on Feb 29.

He said that although "the minister does not have decision-making power" relative to auditors' careers, he could be instrumental to persuade the government to meet their demands.

(Reporting by Ana Mano Editing by Marguerita Choy)

((ana.mano@thomsonreuters.com; Tel: +55-11-5644-7704; Mob: +55-119-4470-4529; Reuters Messaging: ana.mano.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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