Brazil meat packers accused of exporting rotten beef

Henrietta Brewer
March 19, 2017

Authorities have suspended 33 government officials amid allegations that some of the country's largest meat processing companies have sold rotten beef and poultry for years according to a BBC News report.

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

Police detained an executive of BRF SA on Saturday, as the meat company and rival JBS SA took out full-page advertisements to burnish their image after raids to investigate alleged bribes paid to hide unsanitary conditions in Brazil's meatpacking facilities. JBS is the world's largest beef exporter, and BRF produces the most poultry in the world.

In a securities filing, JBS SA stated "The operation conducted today involves companies located in several regions of Brazil, and also involves three of JBS' facilities, two in Paraná and one in Goiás". A two-year investigation into alleged bribery of regulators to subvert plant inspections lead to 194 raids by more than 1,100 officers, reports Reuters.

On Saturday, JBS and BRF launched a public relations offensive to deflect a crisis that threatens an industry with $12 billion in annual exports.

Brazilian federal police said they have evidence of at least 40 incidents.

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