Processing Animal Products According to Religious Precepts

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Mapa) has taken a step to address the dietary needs of religious communities. On April 19, 2024, Mapa released Ordinance No. 676, which outlines the procedures for requesting, evaluating, granting, and revoking exceptional authorization for the slaughter and processing of animal products from butchered species in accordance with religious precepts.

The new regulation allows establishments registered with the Federal Inspection Service (SIF) to apply for permission to perform slaughter and process animal products from butchered species while adhering to specific religious guidelines. The primary objective of this regulation is to prevent restrictions on the consumption of certain foods by members of religious communities in Brazil. For these individuals, adherence to religious rituals during the production of food is essential for its consumption.

Key Provisions

  1. Authorization Process: The Ordinance establishes a clear process for obtaining exceptional authorization. Establishments with SIF registration can request permission to carry out slaughter and processing activities according to religious precepts.
  2. Dispensation from Norms: The regulation allows for the dispensation of specific rules outlined in normative acts. This flexibility ensures that religious dietary requirements are met without compromising product safety, animal welfare, or inspection procedures.
  3. Issuance of Exceptional Authorization: The Department of Animal Product Inspection within the Secretariat of Agricultural Defense will issue exceptional authorizations. Each authorization will specify the rules that are waived to enable the slaughter and processing of animal products in accordance with religious practices.
  4. Safeguards: While promoting religious freedom, the exceptional authorization must not compromise product safety, animal welfare, or inspection protocols. It cannot violate existing laws and regulations governing the matter.

Impact and Implications

The release of Ordinance No. 676 represents a milestone in ensuring that religious dietary practices are respected within the context of food production. By allowing for exceptions while maintaining safety standards, Brazil acknowledges the importance of cultural and religious diversity.

Religious communities in Brazil can now have confidence that their dietary needs will be accommodated without compromising food safety.