Brazil meat-packing giants 'exported rotten beef'

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

Temer chose that steak house to prove the quality of Brazilian meat, but the origin of the food served to the leaders has been questioned after the reports published by the press.

It said Brazilian Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi will hold a videoconference late Monday with Chinese authorities to offer "clarifications".

The EU "will guarantee that any of the establishments involved in the fraud will be suspended", said Brivio, who didn't cite companies by name or expound on how long the ban will last.

On Friday, Copa and Cogeca secretary general, Pekka Pesonen, sent a letter to the Commission calling for European Union safety standards to be met and for Mercosur countries to ensure individual traceability of cattle and a ban on the use of meat and bone meal in poultry production.

Brazil's president, Michel Temer, met with dozens of ambassadors from countries that import Brazilian meat on Sunday (19 March) to reassure them the country's beef was safe.

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

Investigators said employees at the food-processing giants JBS and BRF paid federal inspectors to ignore problems with meat.

Britain's BBC reported that authorities in Brazil had suspended 30 government officials in response to unsourced allegations that some of the country's biggest meat processors had been "selling rotten beef and poultry for years". "The economic impact will depend to a large extent on how long any bans stay in place. The first is that we chose to speed up the auditing process at the sites mentioned by the Federal Police's investigation", said Temer.

"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.

Brazil exported US$6.9 billion (NZ$9.78b) of poultry and $5.5 billion of beef worldwide previous year, according to industry groups.

A year ago the European Commission bowed to pressure from Ireland and other member states and removed beef from its proposed trade deal with South America. A significant percentage of the meat processed by these companies is exported to many countries including European nations. However, according to local media, Temer may have taken the ambassadors to eat imported meat. The suspensions continued with the European Union stopping imports from four of the country's meat processing facilities.

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