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Watch: Brazil meat scandal
The brand new GlobalMeatNews video series looks at some of the biggest stories of the time, rounding up its key points and bringing fresh commentary and insight.
We begin with the turmoil in Brazil. The global beef giant was rocked by allegations of collusion and corruption inside the country’s meat industry and the fallout was fast and furious.
Dozens of key export markets, including China, Chile, Egypt, the EU and Hong Kong, restricted imports of Brazilian beef, pork and poultry over the scandal. However, most countries have now relaxed the restrictions, following a swift diplomatic offensive from the Brazilian government, led by agriculture minister Blairo Maggi.
Some industry followers have said the worst of the crisis is over, but others are not taking any chances.
Earlier this month, the European Livestock and Meat Trading Union (UECBV) secretary-general Jean-Luc Mériaux said the EU was taking further measures to ensure any meat imported from Brazil would not make people unwell.
“The EU Commission and member states have undertaken further initiatives, proportionate to the risk, such as the delisting of the Brazilian meat plants that are suspected of fraud, the rejection of the consignments from the establishments implicated in the fraud currently en route to the EU, and the strengthening of the checks at the external borders of the EU.”
One of Brazil’s largest meat companies, JBS, has also hit out at media reports that “inappropriately” linked the meat processor to the food fraud scandal. “JBS is not accused of selling tainted or rotten meat,” said a JBS spokesperson.
“The order from the federal court that triggered the operation makes no mention of any problems affecting the safety or quality of any JBS products or brands. No actions have been taken against JBS executives or managers.”
However, the company did admit that one JBS employee who worked at processing plant has been under investigation, due to his relation with federal food safety inspectors.
“He is not an executive and does not play a strategic role in our company. He has been suspended as the investigation progresses. Any proof of wrongdoing would lead to immediate additional action by the company.”