A leading beef industry association in Brazil is asking the government to commit new resources and apply more pressure to wiping out black market beef sales, arguing that the illegal slaughter of cattle can be more dangerous than drug trafficking.
Brazil's National Beef Industry Union, or Uniec, says black market cattle slaughter is the largest problem Brazil's beef production chain faces today, and should be considered “a heinous crime,” more serious than narcotics sales.
“While drugs are acquired through a user's decision and kill you over time, clandestinely produced meat is marketed as healthy product, but depending on the contaminant, kills instantly,” said Francisco Victer, Uniec president, during a Monday (June 25) meeting of the Sectoral Chamber of Beef, at the Ministry of Agriculture in Brasilia.
“It doesn't stop there,” he added. “Beyond the attack on public health, the theft of stock, illegal deforestation, child and slave labor, breech of sanitary obligations and tax evasion are all closely linked to illegal slaughter.”
Uniec estimates that more than 30 percent of Brazil's entire beef supply came from unauthorized or undocumented slaughter. To reverse the trend, the industry would need to devise a way to clearly differentiate beef that has been officially inspected and approved.
Uniec says it is developing a packaging seal with the words “Carne Natural” (Natural Beef), that would identify sustainably produced beef across the country that meets industry and government qualifications.
“Government, public prosecutors and the (ministry of justice) need to integrate and expand combative action against this,” said Victer, who noted Uniec's confidence that the packaging seal could rapidly boost consumer awareness.
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