Brazil meat scandal deepens with European Union barring some imports

JBS is the world’s largest meat producer

China, the largest importer of Brazil chicken and beef, has temporarily suspended shipments from the South American country, while the European Union, South Korea and Chile have also issued restrictions.

Investigator Mauricio Moscardi Grillo said the meatpackers used chemicals to improve the appearance and smell of expired meats.

It may be recalled that Brazil is the largest red meat exporter in the world.

A poultry-processing plant run by the multinational BRF group and two meat-processing plants operated by the local Peccin company were shut down, the agriculture ministry said.

A few hours later, agriculture minister Blairo Maggi said that China had suspended the unloading of Brazilian meats in Chinese ports.

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.

Brazilian President Michel Temer had announced that the country's agriculture ministry will release a list of countries that could have received the rotten meat as well as the name of the meatpackers responsible.

The proposed trade deal between Europe and Mercosur, the trading bloc which includes Brazil and Argentina, had been expected to include a more preferential tariff regime for beef imports from Mercosur countries. Of more than 4700 federal-inspected meat plants, the investigations focussed on just 21.

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The scandal came at a time when Brazil is struggling to exit its worst recession in history.

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.

A year ago the European Commission bowed to pressure from Ireland and other member states and removed beef from its proposed trade deal with South America.

Both JBS and BRF said they followed high quality standards and sanitary regulations. But he insisted that the tainted meat occurred in "only a very few businesses" and did not represent a wider problem.

Brazil is the largest beef and chicken exporter with nearly the fifth of global exports and sells it to about 150 countries, according to the Ministry of Development and Foreign Trade.

JBS said: "The company vehemently repudiates any adoption of practices related to the adulteration of products".

The EU and member states stayed vigilant on meat imports from Brazil and accordingly have enhanced the control, the spokesman told a press briefing, adding that Brussels has asked for further clarification from Rio de Janeiro but got no specific information at this stage.

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