Since the 1970s pig production has transformed from a backyard activity to an advanced and integrated production chain.
This has helped make Brazil the fourth largest producer of pork in the world, supplying 4.4m tonnes of high-quality meat (2020), a fifth of which is exported to 70 countries. Brazil’s 41.1m pigs (2020) are reared across 30,000 farms, mostly in the country’s south and southeast.
These areas that saw significant immigration from pork-rearing Europeans today represent two-thirds of the country’s total pork production.
The majority of pig farms are integrated into a system that closely links farmers to meat processors, which allows for close control over quality standards and animal welfare.
The use of locally-sourced feed based on maize, soybean, wheat and sugarcane as well as the warm climate are contributing to reducing GHG emissions. Farmers have also started to produce renewable energy from manure which has the potential to further limit the methane emitted by the sector.
All pork produced is hormone-free and subject to strict quality and health control processes, overseen by Brazil’s agriculture ministry. Each stage of the production process is carefully inspected by a large network of specialised departments and highly-trained professionals.
Federal Inspection Service (Serviço de Inspeção Federal) personnel perform on-site inspections at each exporting processing unit.
Multiple detailed programmes such as the National Residues and Contaminants Control Programme (Programa Nacional de Controle de Resíduos e Contaminantes), the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP) and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) are deployed to ensure and preserve the quality and health of Brazilian pigs and meat products.
Exporting plants are also assessed by the health authorities of importing jurisdictions and imports are commonly subjected to a range of meat quality tests on arrival. This total control has kept Brazilian pork free of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PEDv) and Foot-and-Mouth Disease.