Contaminated Meat and Govt Bribes: Fresh Scandal Rocks Brazil

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

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).

Authorities say that out of the 4,800 meatpacking facilities subject to federal inspection in Brazil, 21 are under investigation, including units of the two big companies JBS and BRF.

Brazil, one of the world's largest exporters of meat, would be hit hard by any form of ban.

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.

It has also been reported by Reuters that Chile has taken the decision to ban beef imports from Brazil.

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. The bloc has suspended imports from four Brazil plants including one owned by BRF, Ricardo Santin, a director at the Brazilian Association of Animal Proteins, or ABPA, told journalists in Sao Paulo. He will later meet with the ambassadors of the largest meat markets.

Investigators are looking into claims that companies paid bribes to hide unhygienic conditions at meatpacking plants.

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Brazil's president has played down a corruption scandal that's tarnished its valuable meat industry.

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.

BRF said it was co-operating with the investigation and denied violating regulations.

More than 80 per cent of the 107,400 tonnes of chicken that South Korea imported a year ago came from Brazil, and BRF supplied nearly half of that.

There were worries, though, that the recent revelations could hurt attempts to negotiate a trade deal between South America's Mercosur group and the European Union.

It said the ban would stay in place until Brazil confirmed that companies exporting meat to Chile had been correctly vetted. But he insisted that the tainted meat occurred in "only a very few businesses" and did not represent a wider problem.

Meeting ambassadors, Temer had the daunting mission of calming the scandal, which was threatening the reputation of the world's biggest exporter of beef and poultry. "And only six of them have exported in the past 60 days", said Mr Temer.

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