Contaminated Meat and Govt Bribes: Fresh Scandal Rocks Brazil

Brazil is the world's biggest red meat and poultry exporter.

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.

Shares of BRF SA fell 8 per cent, while those of JBS SA dropped 5 per cent yesterday.

Bribes ranged from hams to donations to two political parties, including the President's, and in some cases, investigators said the inspectors allowed employees to access government computers to issue their own export certificates.

Adding that he believes that beef is the only meat affected by the Brazilian scandal, Mr Chung said consumers here should not worry since the quantity of beef consumed in Singapore is small, compared to other meats.

"On Saturday, it was reported that Brazil had been selling rotten beef and poultry products internationally for years".

The EU ambassador to Brazil, Joao Cravinho, said he wanted "complete, urgent clarification from the agriculture ministry".

The Brazilian government has done all it could to avoid a total or partial ban on meat imports from other countries. Both companies have denied wrongdoing.

The scandal "could be enough to compromise temporarily Brazilian protein's acceptance worldwide", Credit Suisse Securities analyst Victor Saragiotto wrote in a Monday note to clients.

Brazilian President Michel Temer on Sunday met executives and foreign diplomats to assuage health concerns tarnishing a sector responsible for $12 billion in annual exports.

"The commission will ensure that any of the establishments implicated in the fraud are suspended from exporting to the EU", a spokesman for the European Commission told a media briefing.

The scandal also broke just days before the start of negotiations to seek a free-trade accord between the European Union and several South American countries including Brazil.

Meanwhile, Brazil has tried to reassure the world that its huge meat industry poses no threat.

Meanwhile, Brazil's President, Michel Temer, met foreign diplomats from the EU, China, the USA and elsewhere yesterday [Sunday 19 March] to allay concerns over exports following police raids on meatpackers in Brazil on Friday. But he insisted that the tainted meat occurred in "only a very few businesses" and did not represent a wider problem.

"The government reiterates its trust in the quality of this Brazilian product", Temer said.

According to media reports, the size of affected meat imports seemed to be small and the two sides were working to figure out the detailed amount and specific kinds of product to the European Union markets, said Brivio.

  • Zachary Reyes