The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) is extremely concerned about the recent report exposing horrific working conditions, amounting to slave labour, at some Brazilian poultry producers.
The US-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy says that slave labour is “endemic” in Brazil’s poultry sector. If the report is correct, it shows totally unacceptable working conditions at facilities supplying a huge amount of chicken meat to South Africa.
Brazil is the world’s largest chicken producer and the main source of chicken imports to South Africa. These imports include both mechanically deboned meat, of which Brazil has long been South Africa’s main supplier, and more recently, increased amounts of frozen chicken portions as imports from the European Union were restricted following bird flu outbreaks.
SAPA will be asking the South African government to seek urgent comment from the Brazilian government about these allegations. If they are true, urgent action needs to be taken.
Effects of dumping
Thousands of South African workers have lost their jobs because of dumped chicken imports from countries including Brazil, which has now been exposed as a country where workers are subject to degrading working conditions and forced labour.
These allegations come just months after Brazil’s rotten meat scandal. In May this year, many countries, including South Africa banned imports of meat from some Brazilian producers following revelations of unsafe meat exports.
The poultry allegations are a further indication of unacceptable conditions at Brazilian producers and lax control by Brazilian regulators.