BRUSSELS – The Brazilian government vowed to challenge a European Union ban on meat from several Brazilian producers on concerns about the country’s food safety protocols.

The ban affects between 30 percent and 35 percent of Brazil’s meat exports to the EU and mostly impacts the poultry sector. Brazilian Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said, “…Our complaint is that the European Commission says it is a health issue, but if Brazil pays a tariff of €1,024 per ton and sends everything as fresh meat, it goes without any problem. So, it’s not a health issue, and that is what we are going to complain about at the WTO.”

Maggi said Salmonella sanitary requirements are reduced to two kinds of bacteria from 2,600 paying the tariff. “We are being penalized,” he added.

Reuters reported that 20 plants were affected by the ban. BRF S.A. operates 12 of the banned plants after the company’s involvement in a food safety investigation. JBS S.A., the second-largest poultry producer in Brazil, had no plants delisted.