China bans Brazil meat in health scare: Brasilia

Tammy Harvey
March 21, 2017

Maggi told ambassadors that the Brazilian agricultural production is an extensive chain that employs more than 6 million people in the country and that Brazil has over 4,800 meat packing plants.

It said the ban would stay in place until Brazil confirmed that companies exporting meat to Chile had been correctly vetted.

President Temer used numbers to show that the cases investigated by the Federal Police are too small and isolated to compromise Brazil's entire inspection system. In a separate statement, BRF said the salmonella strain present in some chicken shipments to Europe is allowed by European Union legislation and called the accusation it mixed cardboard to meat a "big misunderstanding" by the police.

Police said 1,100 agents were involved in the "Operation Weak Flesh" raids.

In a desperate move to prove that Brazilian meat was safe, President Michel Temer on Sunday night invited ambassadors to a steak dinner against a backdrop of allegations that corrupt exporters had sold deliberately mislabelled rotten meat.

Both the companies have denied any wrongdoing.

"The agro business for us in Brazil is very important and it should not be marred by a small nucleus (of bad actors), a small thing", he said, speaking to the American Chamber of Commerce in Sao Paulo. According to investigations, 300 companies are committing irregularities including JBS, the largest exporter of beef in the world, and BRF, the largest exporter of processed poultry in the world.

"But it can not compromise the entire system that we have created through the years".

"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 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.

There were worries, though, that the recent revelations could hurt attempts to negotiate a trade deal between South America's Mercosur group and the European Union. "If I lived in the countryside, I'd start raising my own cows and chickens!"

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