Canada suspends imports from 2 Brazil plants in food scandal

Investigators allege producers sold rotten meat and paid officials to turn a blind eye

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced earlier this week it was banning beef and poultry products from JBS and BRF, two of the world's biggest meat companies.

Some other jurisdictions went further: Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Japan and the European Union have banned imports from those producers as well as the other 20 smaller plants implicated in the investigation. On Thursday, China also confirmed a ban after its initial ambiguous measures left hundreds of tons of meat adrift at sea and shipping companies unable to deliver meat or use the country's ports as their transshipment points, as they usually do.

The investigators allege that JBS and BRF disguised inedible beef, pork and chicken, bound for both domestic consumption and export, by injecting the meat with chemicals and acids to improve its appearance and smell; by mixing expired meat with healthy meat; and by fleshing out meat that was considered weak with water and low-cost starch, such as manioc flour.

Investigators say Operation Weak Meat uncovered evidence of bribes paid to Brazilian officials, including some at the federal Ministry of Agriculture, to look the other way. Police issued 38 arrest warrants and closed 21 meat-packing facilities for further inspection.
Brazil's federal Justice Minister, Osmar Serraglio, was allegedly caught on tape calling one of the inspectors under investigation "big boss" in a phone conversation with one of the leaders of the bribery scheme in Parana state.

Serraglio, who oversees the investigating police force, said the police raids prove he is not interfering in the inquiry. Police in Brazil said there was insufficient evidence to launch a separate investigation into the minister's involvement.

Elliott says tracing a meat product's end destination is trickier than it seems. It is "absolutely" possible that the U.S. which bought US $297.8 million of Brazil's meat in 2016 processes meat from Brazil and sells it on to Canada.

"One of the most complicated supply chains in the world is red meat, particularly processed red meat," said Elliott. "Food is a true global commodity, and knowing where your food comes from is close to impossible in many cases."

Canada suspends meat imports from 2 Brazil plants in food scandal - World - CBC News
Support your local farmer. Plenty of organic meat cash and carry available in Canada.
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