Date
14 December 2017
McDonald’s says it will suspend sales of its barbecue chicken wings (inset) while restaurant operators warn of higher food prices as a result of the ban on Brazilian meat. Photo: HKEJ, openrice
McDonald’s says it will suspend sales of its barbecue chicken wings (inset) while restaurant operators warn of higher food prices as a result of the ban on Brazilian meat. Photo: HKEJ, openrice

Brazil meat scandal could drive up food prices, restaurants warn

Local meat importers are urging the government to detail its plan on the ban on frozen meat from Brazil, with some operators saying they face huge losses as dozens of containers are already on their way to Hong Kong.

Restaurants said they would have to pass to consumers the additional cost of using frozen meat from other countries, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The Hong Kong Center For Food Safety met with more than 100 representatives from local frozen meat importers, wholesalers and the shipping industry on the next steps.

Meat importer Tam Chun-yuen, who was among 30 people refused entry to the meeting, said one of his shipments of Brazilian meat has been held by customs authorities while more than 20 others are on their way to Hong Kong.

Tam accused the government of mishandling the incident at the expense of the industry.

Leung Chun-wah, chairperson of the Association for Hong Kong Catering Service Management, said the government has not provided them with a plausible alternative to the ban.

Leung said more than 80 percent of Hong Kong restaurants use Brazilian frozen meat and the ban would take its toll on prices.

Pang Kwing-ho, chief executive of Tsui Wah Restaurant, said a total ban would affect a lot of Hong Kong restaurants, adding the government should come up with a solution targeting specific batches of Brazilian meat products.

There are more than 1,000 companies that have imported meat from Brazil and the government cannot guarantee that the problem is limited to the the 21 exporters identified by the Brazilian government so far, Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said.

Under Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said the Center For Food Safety has only recently met with officials from the consulate general of Brazil in Hong Kong and notified about five exporters that were flagged as dangerous.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s has announced that it will suspend sales of its barbecue chicken wings, chicken drumsticks and McChicken as some of the food items were sourced from Brazilian suppliers.

The fast food giant said it did not buy from any of the 21 exporters that have been found with contaminated meat.

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