Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
Business | By Megan Pierce

Brazil's BRF, JBS shares slump after China suspends meat imports

Brazil's BRF, JBS shares slump after China suspends meat imports

The authorities have also suspended 33 government officials who are suspected of taking bribes for certifying rotten beef as good.

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.

He said all countries importing Brazilian meat are welcome to inspect its slaughterhouses.

Federal police raided meatpacking plants on Friday and have issued 38 arrest warrants.

The European Commission, the EU executive arm, called on Brazil immediately to halt exports by four companies implicated in the scandal, the bloc's spokesman Enrico Brivio told reporters in Brussels.

Investigators said employees at the food-processing giants JBS and BRF paid federal inspectors to ignore problems with meat.

Authorities say the companies used chemicals to improve the appearance and smell of expired meats.

Supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice said on Monday (March 20) that it is aware of ongoing investigations against two companies in Brazil which supply poultry products to its stores and other retailers here, and is seeking clarification with its suppliers about the matter.

Brazilian President Michel Temer had announced that the country's agriculture ministry will release a list of countries that could have received the rotten meat as well as the name of the meatpackers responsible.

JBS was down 0.2 percent at 4:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) as investors bet the scandal would have less effect on the world's largest meatpacker, while BRF was still down 2 percent.

Shares of Minerva SA (BEEF3.SA) and Marfrig Global Foods SA (MRFG3.SA), which are not involved in the investigations, also fell as traders fretted over the possibility of further import bans.

There were worries, though, that the recent revelations could hurt attempts to negotiate a trade deal between South America's Mercosur group and the European Union.

Temer said the plants under scrutiny represented a tiny proportion of Brazil's meat industry.

On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second-largest city, the scandal left many consumers in doubt.

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