Contaminated Meat and Govt Bribes: Fresh Scandal Rocks Brazil

Lucy Hill
March 21, 2017

Brazilian meat is shipped to 150 nations; sales past year reached $5.9 billion (5.48 billion euros) in poultry and $4.3 billion in beef, according to government data.

Brazilian meat is exported to more than 150 countries, with principal markets including Saudi Arabia, China, Singapore, Japan, Russia, the Netherlands and Italy.

IFA president Joe Healy said the latest shocking revelations on the failure of Brazil to meet European Union standards and controls in the meat sector raises very serious concerns around European Union meat imports.

Sources close to the Brazilian industry told Beef Central that police had visited processing plants to gain access to meat inspectors' computers, phones and records.

It said the ban would stay in place until Brazil confirmed that companies exporting meat to Chile had been correctly vetted.

Three of the meat processing plants have been shut down and investigations are being conducted against 21 companies.

Dozens of Brazilian government officials were suspended Friday amid allegations that some of the country's largest meat processors have been selling rotten and salmonella-tainted meat for years.

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Brazil's President Michel Temer has sought to reassure foreign trade partners that the corruption scandal engulfing the country's meat industry does not mean its products are unsafe. Both companies have denied wrongdoing.

JBS, the world's largest meat producer, said in an ad broadcast Saturday night on Brazil's largest TV network that the judge's ruling on the so-called Weak Flesh probe had no mention of quality irregularities involving the company and that the "unfortunate" cases cited by the media do not involve any of its brands.

"Agribusiness for us in Brazil is incredibly important and cannot be devalued by a small group, by a minor thing that can be investigated, regulated and punished if needed", Mr Temer told business leaders in Sao Paulo.

"But it can not compromise the entire system that we have created through the years".

"The government reiterates its trust in the quality of this Brazilian product", Temer said.

Shares of Minerva SA and Marfrig Global Foods SA, which are not involved in the investigations, also fell as traders fretted over the possibility of further import bans.

On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second-largest city, the scandal left many consumers in doubt. "Should I eat it or just throw it all away?"

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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