Brazil meat scandal deepens with European Union barring some imports

Allegations have surfaced in Brazil that meat processors in the country have been selling rotten beef and poultry products

Top meat-packers have been accused of selling rotten produce for years.

Adding that he believes that beef is the only meat affected by the Brazilian scandal, Mr Chung said consumers here should not worry since the quantity of beef consumed in Singapore is small, compared to other meats.

He said the reports from Brazil would indicate that basic requirements around traceability and food safety are still not being met in Brazil. Some 33 government officials have been suspended. "We are now in contact with our suppliers to seek clarification from them while awaiting the investigation results from the authorities, as we monitor the matter closely".

Market analysis group Capital Economics warned the "developing scandal over Brazil's meat exports could plausibly derail the country's economic recovery".

Sales in 2016 reached US$5.9 billion in poultry and US$4.3 billion in beef, according to Brazilian government data.

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.

European Union ambassador Joao Cravinho tweeted on Sunday that he would demand "complete, urgent clarifications from the agriculture ministry". Federal police carried out raids at 194 locations, deploying more than 1,000 officers.

Investigators allege some factory managers bribed politicians and health inspectors to secure export certificates and food safety approval for meat that was never checked for hygiene standards.

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

Brazil is the world's biggest beef and poultry-exporting nation and the row is especially unwelcome when the country is struggling to exit its worst recession in history. The police said the operation was launched to dismantle a "criminal organisation" that used bribes to facilitate the production of adulterated beef and poultry.

JBS says it follows sanitary regulations and has high standards for its products, while BRF has denied breaching regulations.

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