Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Brazil meatpackers accused of selling 'rotten' beef, chicken


The removal of export tariffs on inputs for the European Union food and feed sectors is an important objective for the European Union in the negotiations, said the Commission.

While some of the substance of the reports now appears to be under question, China's regulatory body, the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine nevertheless yesterday put a hold on all customs clearance and quarantine of Brazilian meat until further notice.

The commission noted that the scandal had no direct link to the EU's free trade talks with South American bloc Mercosur and any future deal would be supposed to meet the EU's high regulatory requirements and food safety standards.

"These countries now do not have the same standards as us".

Brazil is the world's biggest red meat exporter.

Two of the country's largest meatpackers JBS and BRF are among those being investigated.

The raids were a culmination of a two-year investigation.

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The authorities there are investigating whether companies paid bribes to hide unhygienic conditions at meatpacking facilities, and whether they sold rotten meat and poultry. Some 33 government officials have been suspended.

Three meat processing plants have also been closed and another 21 are under scrutiny. One of the world's leading producers, Brazil exports $12 billion of meat to about 150 countries. It acknowledged that the raids had taken place, but said none of its top executives had been arrested.

JBS and BRF issued separate statements denying any wrongdoing and said they comply with regulations.

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.

"Until it receives more information, China will not unload meat imported from Brazil", the Brazilian agriculture ministry said in a statement.

It is also working with meat importers to monitor the situation and to be prepared to ramp up alternative sources, if necessary.

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