Dozens of Brazilian government officials were suspended Friday amid allegations that some of the country's largest meat processors have been selling rotten and salmonella-tainted meat for years. 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.
Three meat plants were also closed on the same charges, and 18 other factories that export products to Egypt have been placed under supervision. More than 1,100 agents were involved in Operation Weak Flesh raids.
The investigators allege that some managers bribed health inspectors and politicians to get government certificates for their products.
According to reports by the Associated Press, part of the money allegedly paid by meatpackers JBS and BRF was channelled to two major political parties, including the one of President Michel Temer, police said after a two-year investigation.
On Saturday, JBS and BRF launched a public relations offensive to deflect a crisis that threatens an industry with $12 billion in annual exports. JBS is the world's largest beef exporter, and BRF produces the most poultry in the world.
Brazilian federal police said they have evidence of at least 40 incidents.