14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 24 March 2017 – Cuba has reacted very
oddly to the scandal of adulterated meat from Brazil, the island's main
provider of beef products: silence on the part of the authorities, lower
prices on some on-line shopping sites, and very little public concern
about possible health risks.
At the corner of Monte and Cienfuegos several customers milled around
this Thursday, waiting for La Havana Butcher Shop to lower the prices on
its display. "My daughter told me they were going to lower prices,"
Carmen, a 78-year-old pensioner waiting on the sidewalk, told this
Carmen's daughter lives in Murcia, Spain and has kept abreast of all the
news about the adulteration of products by the Brazilian companies JBS
and BRF, the two most important in the country, which came to light
through an investigation by the Federal Police.
The Cuban press has been sparing in details about "Operation Weak Meat,"
but the issue has generated hopes among Cubans of a possible fall in
prices of these foods, in high demand on the nation's tables.
The digital sites that sell on the island have taken the first step and
this week some of them have dropped prices on beef. "Meats imported from
Brazil. With great discounts and better quality," announced Supermarket
Treew, one of the most popular internet sales sites.
The services of the company, based in Toronto, began in 1998 and are
widely used by emigrants living abroad to supply their families with
food, cleaning supplies and appliances; they place and pay for their
orders on line and the products are delivered in Cuba. Now
online products like roasts, ground beef, hamburgers and steak are
showing price reductions ranging from 5% to 15%.
However, Cuba's Ministry of Internal Commerce has not applied similar
discounts in the network of domestic stores nor withdrawn these products
from the shelves.
The Ministry of Internal Commerce has not applied similar discounts in
the network of national stores or withdrawn products from the sale
The Department of Attention to the Population of that state entity
confirmed to this newspaper, by telephone, that "no particular measure
has been taken with regards to that subject. We have not ordered the
suspension of the sale of meat from Brazil nor lowered prices, although
each store can do so autonomously."
The point of sale of frozen products located at Neptuno and Angeles
streets continued displaying the usual prices: 10.90 CUC per one
kilogram of beef, half of the monthly salary of a professional.
"I have the store's phone number and I have called every day to know if
they have put anything on sale, but nothing," says Ignacio Luaces, an
entrepreneur who runs errands for a private restaurant. "We are hoping
that the goods will go on sale, but so far, no," he told 14ymedio.
Others are concerned about the potential health implications. "Every day
on TV there are lots of announcements about mosquitoes and the dangers
of the diseases they transmit, but they have not said anything about
it," protests Liudmila, a medical student who plans to specialize in
"Food poisoning is very dangerous and most people who buy beef for
domestic consumption do it for children or the elderly," she says. "I
think it's time for the Ministry of Public Health to make a public
announcement telling people not to eat that meat."
Source: Lower On-Line Prices for Brazilian Meat While Cuban Government
is Silent – Translating Cuba -