The Saudi Food and Drug Authority will suspend imports from 11 poultry slaughterhouses in Brazil effective May 23.
SFDA updated its list of approved establishments for poultry meat imports on Wednesday (May 5) and the suspensions were confirmed by a joint statement from Brazil's agriculture and foreign affairs ministry on Thursday.
The ministries said they was not given any reason for the suspension and have reached out to Saudi authorities for clarification.
Brazil may take the case to the World Trade Organisation if it finds an "undue barrier" to trade, said the statement.
The companies affected are Vibra Agroindustrial (3 plants), JBS (2 plants), Seara Alimentos, part of the JBS Group (5), and Agroaraca Industrial de Alimentos (1).
They join two plants owned by BRF that have been suspended since February last year.
There are now only nine SFDA-approved Brazilian slaughterhouses, four run by BRF, and one each by Jaguarfrangos, Lar Cooperative, Villa Germania, Frigorifico Nicolini, and Zanchetta.
Brazil's companies exported 31% of their chicken meats in 2020, according to industry body ABPA.
For the first ten months of 2020, Brazil shipped 3.498 million tons of chicken meat to reach $5.066 billion in sales.
Most recently, exports in February was $521.7 million, down 5.8% from the same month last year.
However, sales to Saudi Arabia increased 19.5% in February year-on-year, to reach 43.8 thousand tons, according to ABPA.
Saudi authorities currently approve poultry meat imports from 11 countries and poultry meat products imports from 17, according to the SFDA website.
The activities approved cover slaughterhouses, cutting plants, cold stores, offals, minced meat, processing plants, meat preparations, and frozen.
All poultry meat entering Saudi Arabia must be halal-certified.
SFDA continuously updates its list of approved exporters.
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