Saturday, 23 September, 2017

Brazil meat scandal deepens as China and European Union halt some imports

The probe found evidence of meatpackers bribing inspectors and politicians to overlook unsanitary practices The probe found evidence of meatpackers bribing inspectors and politicians to overlook unsanitary practices
Mae Harvey | 21 March, 2017, 00:29

Temer ended his address by stating that of the 853,000 shipments of meat exported from Brazil a year ago, only 184 were considered "noncompliant" by importers - and these referred to problems regarding the labels or certificates and never the product's quality.

In a major operation last Friday, police issued 38 arrest warrants and accused some major meatpacking companies of widespread bribery of health inspectors to hide unsanitary conditions.

"This standard of excellence is that over time has opened the doors of more than 150 countries, with permanent audit, monitoring and risk assessment", said President Temer during the meeting with ambassadors.

Brazil and Argentina account for a huge chunk of the 80% of plant protein imports for feed the European Union is so dependent on.

Brazilian authorities launched raids in six states on Saturday, after a two-year investigation.

Three processing plants have been closed in the country that is recognized as the world's largest red meat exporter.

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President Michel Temer has guaranteed Brazilian society and the ambassadors of 20 countries that buy the country's meat that those products are healthy and that the criminals that had been adulterating them had been stopped.

"We are major importers of Chilean products: fish, fruit and other products, and Brazilians demand that we should erect barriers".

The European Commission, the EU executive arm, called on Brazil immediately to halt exports by four companies implicated in the scandal, the bloc's spokesman Enrico Brivio told reporters in Brussels.

The proposed trade deal between Europe and Mercosur, the trading bloc which includes Brazil and Argentina, had been expected to include a more preferential tariff regime for beef imports from Mercosur countries.

JBS said: "The company vehemently repudiates any adoption of practices related to the adulteration of products".

A poultry-processing plant run by the multinational BRF group and two meat-processing plants operated by the local Peccin company were shut down, the agriculture ministry said. However, both JBS and BRF have denied the allegations against them.

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