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Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Brazil meat scandal: Temer assures foreign markets

Brazil meat scandal: Temer assures foreign markets

Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture has said no meat from the 21 factories under scrutiny would be transported out of the country without prior authorisation of government-appointed auditors.

Brazilian Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi will meet foreign ambassadors on Monday to reassure them and try to prevent sanctions being issued against Brazilian meat exporters.

Meatpackers are alleged to have bribed dozens of inspectors to keep rotten meat on the market.

Brazilian meat is shipped to 150 nations; sales past year reached $5.9 billion (5.48 billion euros) in poultry and $4.3 billion in beef, according to government data.

Meat Traders' Association mentor Chung Suan Lim, who was also its president for eight years, said his checks with the network of importers here have turned up no complaints about imports from Brazil so far.

In a related development, the Ministry of Agriculture, represented by the General Authority for Veterinary Services, chose to review all processed meat and poultry shipments imported from Brazil to ensure that health and safety measures have been properly applied.

The authorities there are investigating whether companies paid bribes to hide unhygienic conditions at meatpacking facilities, and whether they sold rotten meat and poultry.

Meeting ambassadors, Temer had the daunting mission of calming the scandal, which was threatening the reputation of the world's biggest exporter of beef and poultry.

The European Commission, the EU executive arm, called on Brazil immediately to halt exports by four companies implicated in the scandal, the bloc's spokesman Enrico Brivio told reporters in Brussels.

The claims appear to relate to discovery of frozen meat being used by a small value-adding company where use-by dates on product had expired.

"My freezer at home is full of meat, and I don't know what to do", said Maria Fonseca, a saleswoman.

Meat giants JBS and BRF were among more than 20 companies targeted in the raids.

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.

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