BRAZIL has exported “at least” 1,359t of salmonella-infected poultrymeat – the equivalent to about a million birds – to the UK since April 2017, research has revealed.

A new report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has compared the 20% salmonella rate in poultrymeat from Brazil with the 2% rate in the UK.

Brazil is the largest exporter of frozen poultrymeat in the world, supplying about $1bn-worth to Europe each year.

The country’s poultry industry employs more than 3.6 million people either directly or indirectly, and exports more than 4.3m t of chicken globally.

Yet the government itself has accepted its salmonella contamination rates are too high, with Ana Lucia Viana, director of Brazil’s Department of Inspection of Animal Products saying: “Europe is one step ahead of us regarding the control of salmonella.”

EU border checks have discovered salmonella in more than 370 consignments of Brazilian chicken and other poultrymeat shipped to the EU since April 2017.

All consignments are physically examined, but only one in five are subject to microbiological checks.

Thirteen consignments have been detected by UK border inspections this year.  Meat found to be failing is commonly sent back to Brazil and sold domestically.