Brazil meat sector ruined by scandal; China and EU suspend imports

World - Vinay Mishra - Mar 21,2017

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brazil meat sector ruined by scandal china and eu suspend imports

World's biggest meat and poultry exporter, Brazil, suspended more than 30 senior government servants who weren’t able to spot the unhygienic and illegal practices in the industry.

Brazilian President Michel Temer met executives and foreign diplomats to mollify health concerns ruining a sector responsible for $12 billion in annual exports.

Brazil is the world's largest red meat exporter, however, at present the global meat buyers are suspending imports from Brazil.

China, which is the world’s biggest meat importer has decided to suspend all meat imports from Brazil. China accounted for nearly one-third of all the Brazilian exports last year.

South Korea's agriculture ministry said that they would tighten inspections of imported Brazilian meat and temporarily suspend sales of chicken products by BRF. About 80 percent of all the chicken products that South Korea imported last year were from Brazil and BRF was in-charge to supply almost a share of 50 percent. Moreover, the EU and Chile have also curtailed meat imports from Brazil.

The police investigation has revealed the illegal business practices in the industry. The police department has named BRF and JBS along with dozens of smaller companies in a two-year probe into how meatpackers allegedly paid off inspectors and executive to overlook practices including rotten meat processing and shipping exports with traces of salmonella. It is also reported that, three meat packing firms have been closed and another 21 are being investigated.

The European Commission called on Brazil to immediately ban exports by the companies involved in the meat scandal.

However, the companies have denied any wrongdoing and also argued that there have been no death cases or illness linked with the tainted meat consumption.

In an attempt to downplay the meat scandal, Brazilian President Michel Temer said that investigation involved only 21 of Brazil's more than 4,800 meat processing units.

Brazil is also under stress from huge corruption scandals involving state-owned oil company Petrobras and construction and engineering company, Odebrecht.