Brazil meat packers accused of exporting rotten beef

However, the world's largest beef exporter, JBS SA, and the world's largest poultry processor, BRF SA, were both targeted as part of the probe.

"The Brazilian government reiterates its confidence in the quality of a national product that has won over consumers and obtained the approval of the most rigorous markets", said Mr Temer.

The regulator said meat and meat products can only be imported into Singapore from AVA-accredited sources, which involves two levels of checks.

South American trade bloc Mercosur expects to sign a framework accord this year for a trade deal with the European Union as the US shift to isolationism under President Donald Trump encourages it to look outside the hemisphere for opportunities, Brazil's top diplomat said on Tuesday.

Brazil, the world's biggest exporter of red meat, has been hit by a beef scandal that could seriously damage the country's worldwide reputation. President Michel Temer took ambassadors from the main importer countries to an all-you-can-eat steak dinner Sunday to prove local meat is safe to eat.

Brazil is the world's biggest red meat exporter.

Meanwhile, an agriculture ministry spokesman confirmed that 33 meat inspectors had been suspended and that three plants had been shut down.

The two firms are Brazilian food giant BRF, which owns the Sadia and Perdigao brands, and JBS, a global firm in meat sales and owner of the Big Frango, Seara Alimentos and Swift brands. "And only six of them have exported in the past 60 days", said Mr Temer.

The investigation, known as "Operation Weak Flesh", had uncovered about 40 cases of meatpackers who had bribed inspectors and politicians to ignore unsanitary practices, police said.

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

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.

  • Zachary Reyes