The Senate approved, this Tuesday (20), the bill that exempts the State from the responsibility of sanitary inspection of agribusiness and allows such activity to be carried out by the private sector.
The proposal had already been definitively approved by the Agrarian Reform Commission (CRA), but a request was made for the text to pass through the plenary.
The appraisal of the project, baptized by critics as PL do Autocontrole, takes place in the midst of a agreement between allies of the elected government Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) and the ruralist caucus for its approval.
Also part of the arrangement was the advancement of the project that eases restrictions on the use of pesticides, the so-called PL do Veneno, which was voted on by the same committee last Monday (19), in an extraordinary meeting.
The Ministry of Agriculture asked Lula’s interlocutors with agribusiness to take advantage of the negotiations around the Transition PEC to move forward with both texts.
The two proposals are part of a package dubbed “boiadinhas”, a group of matters of environmental impact that advance in the Senate without obstruction or even with the complacency of the President of the House, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG).
Some of these proposals, including the one that makes inspections of slaughterhouses more flexible, circumvented the Environment Committee, as they were not discussed by it.
The approved text allows the private initiative to inspect agricultural activities, for example meat slaughterhouses, an activity that is currently the responsibility of the State.
Only Senator Eliziane Gama (Cidadania-MA) and Senator Jean Paul Prates (PT-RN) were against the project, which now follows the Presidency’s sanction.
In its justification, the government alleges that it does not currently have the necessary resources to carry out the inspection.
In practice, it will be companies hired by the slaughterhouses themselves who will monitor the health standards of the activity. Critics also claim that the project could suffocate small producers, who may not have the resources to carry out the operation.
“Allowing a seller to be responsible for certifying the legal compliance of his own merchandise is something odd from any point of view. When it comes to food, it is something completely unacceptable and threatens the health security of the whole society”, stated Kenzo Jucá, legislative consultant for the ISA (Social and Environmental Institute).
A technical note signed by five prosecutors from the Public Ministry of Labor also states that the project “transfers to the private sector the power to monitor itself and makes it difficult to identify and punish fraudsters in case of adulteration of products such as milk, cheese, honey, olive oil , chicken and frozen products, meats and drinks in general”.
The bill that eases restrictions against pesticides was approved at the CRA last Monday, in an extraordinary meeting, scheduled at the last minute, in the last week before the parliamentary recess and one day before the date set for the vote on the Transition PEC in the camera.
There is fear on the part of ruralists that projects with an environmental impact, such as these, will have more difficulty to be processed and may even be vetoed by the future president Lula — since the current chief executive, Jair Bolsonaro (PL), has encouraged agendas related to agribusiness.
Despite the pressure from the ruralist group, the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), has already signaled that he should not guide the vote in plenary. Interlocutors of the president claim that he thinks that the text —which is controversial— needs more debate in the House, and that the elected government should position itself more clearly on the subject.