(Yicai Global) March 20 -- Brazilian President Michel Temer met on Sunday with corporate executives and foreign diplomats from China, the US and the European Union to ease health concerns over a rotten meat scandal.
The Brazilian government remains confident in the quality of its national product and portrayed the police raids last Friday as isolated anticorruption efforts, Reuters reported today, citing the Brazilian President. Temer hoped to quell fears of systemic flaws in the country's meat sector.
Friday's raids affected just 21 out of more than 4,800 meatpackers in Brazil, and only 33 of over 11,000 employees in the agricultural ministry are being investigated, he said.
Brazilian police launched their largest ever crackdown on illegal trade of meat last Friday. They are investigating whether companies paid bribes to conceal unsanitary conditions at meatpackers last.
Evidence obtained by police shows that meatpackers bribed government regulators and falsified documentation for exports to Europe, China and the Middle East. Brazil's agricultural ministry has suspended 33 officials who allegedly failed to inspect freezing plants in accordance with the rules or failed to issue certificates based on sanitary standards. Police have also arrested dozens of employees from meat firms including BRF SA and JBS SA, two of the country's leading meat producers.
Brazil is the world's second-biggest meat producer and largest beef exporter. Brazilian meat was exported to 150 countries and regions last year and was sold primarily to China, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Japan.