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What is the actual meat issue?

Investigation on the new scandal involving Brazilian beef is a real fact; however, the issue should be dealt fairly. Flaws in the inspection system have been long discussed and it is indeed one more of countless problems in Brazil regarding inspection. Nevertheless, suddenly burying the Brazilian beef in the same grave is also an overkill. First, we should better understand the actual issue.


Brazil has one of the best and largest industries of animal protein in the world, which supplies 200 million Brazilians very well and exports to more than 150 countries of all continents. Brazil is the major beef and broiler exporter and the fourth pork exporter in the world, and the country plays a major role in egg exportations.


Therefore, the sector is much bigger than some malicious inspector and slaughterhouses (roughly 0.3% of the total). The fact is obviously serious, once it raises uncertainties on all meats (broiler, beef and pork) sold in Brazil and in the international market.


The Brazilian government needs to create a plan of action of three phases. First, put out the fire. Second, present a new model of inspection and, third, implement it. In the short-term, arrest, and name the culprits. Show firmness and determination and obviously give the due dimension of the issue, neither overestimating nor underestimating it. This calls for the modernization of the sector due to its importance to Brazil. It is crucial to create an efficient technical organ, politics free and based on meritocracy, independent, without being arrogant.


This moment of crisis can lead to the creation of daring ideas, making lemonade out of lemons. Overall, cattle farming alone creates more than 1.5 million well-paying jobs, involving 5.6 million people. In the poultry sector, the number of people involved is not very different. Therefore, it is essential to think well before tearing the sector down because of some irregular plants.   


Agriculture and cattle farming are to Brazil as the industrial production is to China. Brazil has production expertise in the field, industry and distribution. For least 30 years, heavy investments have been made in technology, in its distribution and application. This does not mean that Brazil is perfect. Brazil has a huge potential to be much more efficient, especially in the beef cattle sector. The lack of consciousness of people who committed illegal acts is impressive, because economic and social damages that their irresponsible actions have caused are enormous, compromising millions of jobs. Millions of workers may lose their jobs due to inconsequent actions of a few.


The fact that Brazilian institutions and agents discovered the irregularities, within the country, is less harmful than if it had occurred in a purchasing country, for example. The international reaction would have been much more devastating. For the time being, Brazil needs to show the world that the country has serious institutions, capable of detecting quality issues and, even more, explain the dimension of this fact, preventing the loss of a significant share of the national wealth. 


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