China latest to suspend imports
BRASÍLIA: The fallout from Brazil’s rotten meat scandal accelerated on Monday when China, a huge client, suspended imports, and the European Union demanded a partial ban.
Another ban on Brazilian meat imposed by Chile sparked fears of a trade spat between the two South American partners.
China, which with Hong Kong is Brazil’s biggest meat export market, said it needed to know more about the allegations that major meatpacking businesses bribed inspectors to get health certificates and masked tainted meat as fit for consumption.
“Until it receives more information, China will not unload meat imported from Brazil,” said the Brazilian agriculture ministry.
“We expect more than 30 countries to question Brazil,” Brazilian Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi told a news conference.
If all of them halted imports of Brazilian meat, it would be catastrophic for the country, said the minister.
The European Commission, the EU executive arm, called on Brazil to immediately halt exports by four companies implicated in the scandal.
Shortly after, the Brazilian government said it had complied, halting exports by all 21 meat processors under investigation.
But after Chile announced a “temporary” ban on Brazilian meat products, Maggi angrily threatened reprisals.
Japan, another of the industry’s principal markets, said it was considering issuing a notice to customers.
At least 30 people have been arrested in the scandal, with Brazilian police raiding more than a dozen processing plants.
A poultry-processing plant run by the multinational BRF group and two meat-processing plants operated by the local Peccin company had been shut down, said the agriculture ministry. AFP
A butcher cutting meat at a butchery stall inside a market in Sao Paulo. Brazil has halted exports by all 21 processors being investigated over a rotten meat scandal.