Brazil president seeks to calm fears over meat sales, exports

Posted March 20, 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.

BRF did not have an immediate comment on the investigation. JBS even reactivated its Twitter account, last used in 2015. The print version on newspapers closes with "we only produce the food we put on our family's tables" in big, bold letters.

The raids were a culmination of a two-year investigation.

Now, the companies are rushing to fight back on public perception that their food is all but safe.

Brazil's President Michel Temer has sought to reassure foreign trade partners that the corruption scandal engulfing the country's meat industry does not mean its products are unsafe. It was alleged that some of the meat, including sausages and cold cuts, was adulterated with ingredients including pig heads, and that suspect smells were masked by applying acid. Some was exported-police allege three BRF cargoes tainted with salmonella are still en route to Europe.

They accuse more than 30 companies of a number of unhygienic practices.

The biggest newspapers ran pictures of the dinner on the front page Monday, after a weekend full of social media frenzy around the scandal. Samples are also taken for laboratory testing, including tests for food safety hazards - such as chemical residues, antibiotics and microbial pathogens - as well as authenticity, ensuring that the meat species match the species declared on the label.

"To reassure our friends", he said, in 2016 some 853,000 shipments of meat were sent overseas and only 184 "had problems, either with their labeling or for minor matters, but in no case for their quality".

Both JBS and BRF said they followed high quality standards and sanitary regulations. The European Commission said any companies found to be involved in the scandal there will be denied access to the European Union market.