Brazil meatpackers accused of selling 'rotten' beef, chicken

Posted March 21, 2017

The authorities there are investigating whether companies paid bribes to hide unhygienic conditions at meatpacking facilities, and whether they sold rotten meat and poultry. Much of the meat produced by these companies is exported to Europe and other parts of the world.

A judge in Brazil has also accused the agriculture ministry of betraying the country as police issued 38 arrest warrants following a clampdown called "Operation Weak Flesh" on Friday (17 March).

The revelation on Friday of a two-year police probe into alleged bribery of health inspectors to certify tainted food as fit for consumption has struck at the heart of the world's leading exporter of beef and chicken. JBS's media office said it was unaware of any detention and denied that police raided the company's São Paulo-based headquarters.

Brazil is the world's biggest red meat exporter.

The South American nation exports its meat to more than 150 countries, with principal markets as far apart as Singapore, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, Russia, the Netherlands and Italy.

His calls for a ban were echoed by John Comer, president of the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), the revelations should prompt an immediate ban on Brazilian beef and poultry imports into the European Union until some degree of trust and confidence can be restored.

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Meanwhile, an agriculture ministry spokesman confirmed that 33 meat inspectors had been suspended and that three plants had been shut down.

The companies allegedly improve the appearance and smell of expired meats by using chemicals and cheaper products like water and manioc flour.

However, Francisco Turra, head of Brazilian beef producers association ABPA, told a separate news conference that the scandal had put the entire sector in jeopardy and "destroyed" a hard-fought image of quality products.

Mr Temer set up the meeting with ambassadors following inquiries from the European Union and China over the scandal.

Food giants JBS SA and BRF SA are spending big in a rush to reassure consumers their meat is safe to eat after finding themselves at the center of Brazil's latest corruption probe.