Brazil meat scandal: Temer tries to reassure partners

Mar 21, 2017, 00:33
Brazil meat scandal: Temer tries to reassure partners

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.

"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.

The news was met with anger and frustration in Brazil, which is already reeling from corruption scandals affecting the highest echelons of government.

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

JBS is the world's largest meat producer and BRF the biggest poultry exporter.

Shortly after, the Brazilian government said it had complied, halting exports by all 21 meat processors under investigation.

Some of Brazil's top meat processors are accused of paying bribes to keep rotten beef and chicken on the market.

"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.

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

Brazil is still reeling from massive graft scandals involving state-controlled oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA) and construction and engineering firm Odebrecht.

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

Supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice said on Monday (March 20) that it is aware of ongoing investigations against two companies in Brazil which supply poultry products to its stores and other retailers here, and is seeking clarification with its suppliers about the matter.

"NTUC FairPrice is aware of ongoing investigations on JBS SA and BRF SA in Brazil", said a spokesman in response to queries.

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