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UPDATE 1-Brazil to propose more self-monitoring of food processors

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BRASÍLIA, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Brazil's agriculture minister said on Thursday a bill will be sent to Congress in the first 100 days of the year to introduce more self-monitoring of food processors, as the world's largest beef and chicken exporter has outgrown the current system that relies on daily presence of inspectors at meatpacking plants.

The ministry will propose some changes in that bill, while other modifications can be made through administrative measures, Minister Tereza Cristina Dias told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on self-monitoring.

Dias had told Reuters in an interview earlier this year that the government would propose more self-monitoring in the first half of 2019.

The ministry is proposing increased independence for industries including meat-packing, wine production and even fertilizers, she said in a speech at the seminar. Certain industries already have self-monitoring at various stages of the inspection process.

"The state does not have more legs. Our economy, our agribusiness in gigantic," Dias said. "We have no means to conduct daily controls."

She said the presence of inspectors at meat plants on a daily basis is not necessary. Self-monitoring is crucial to improve inspection protocols and open new export markets, Dias said.

Last year, commercial partners banned certain Brazilian meat producers after a federal probe revealed alleged bribery and falsified inspection results in the meat exporting industry.

The scandal briefly threatened about $15 billion in exports from Brazil's powerhouse protein industry as markets from China to Europe curtailed shipments of meat pending a review of the South American nation's inspection protocols. (Reporting by Jake Spring and Ana Mano Editing by David Gregorio)

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