4.10 Meat Imports From Brazil to China, EU Curtailed Amid Reported Scandals
March 21, 2017
Reuters reports (Via AgriMarketing):
China and the European Union curtailed meat imports from Brazil on Monday after police, in an anti-corruption probe criticized by the government as alarmist, accused inspectors in the world’s biggest exporter of beef and poultry of taking bribes to allow sales of rotten and salmonella-tainted meats.
As the scandal deepened, Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said the government had suspended exports from 21 meat processing units.
But he also criticized the investigation by Brazil’s Federal Police into meatpacking companies, calling their findings “alarmist” and saying they used a few isolated incidents to tarnish an entire industry that maintains rigorous standards.
An all-out ban on Brazilian meat exports would be a “disaster,” Maggi added. “I pray, I hope, I work so that does not happen,” he said, speaking to reporters outside his office in Brasilia.
With other import curbs expected to follow, the scandal stemming from a police operation codenamed “Weak Flesh” could deal a heavy blow to one of the few sectors of Latin America’s largest economy that has thrived during a two-year recession.
Police on Friday named BRF SA (BRFS3.SA) and JBS SA (JBSS3.SA), along with dozens of smaller rivals, in a two-year probe into how meatpackers allegedly paid off inspectors to overlook practices including processing rotten meat, shipping exports with traces of salmonella and simply not carrying out inspections of plants.
JBS is the world’s largest meat producer and BRF the biggest poultry exporter.
The companies have denied any wrongdoing, and authorities have said no cases of death or illness have been linked to the tainted meat investigation.
New allegations of unsavory business practices in Brazil come as the country is still reeling from a massive graft scandal centered on state-controlled oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA) that is widening into other sectors.