In this file:

 

·         Brazil Moves to Calm Beef Crisis, Temer Heads to Steakhouse

… The U.S. bought $297.8 million of red meat from Brazil in 2016, according to government data…

 

·         Brazil's Latest Scandal: Bribes, Acid and Tainted Meat Exports

… Some of the tainted meat was sold as school meals and to retail chains including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to police and Brazil’s Federal Revenue agency. Some was exported…

 

·         Brazilian beef and poultry industry plunged into major scandal

‘Potato, Water And Cardboard Mixed With Chicken’

 

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

… A source told Reuters China's temporary imports ban is a "precautionary measure"…

 

·         Down But Not Out, Brazil's Lula Mulls an Unlikely Return

Former president currently leads polls for 2018 election

 

·         HOW BRAZIL’S MEAT SCANDAL COULD IMPACT EXPORTS

The meat industry is one of the cornerstones of the Brazilian economy

 

 

 

Brazil Moves to Calm Beef Crisis, Temer Heads to Steakhouse

 

    EU seeking information from Brazil and may schedule meeting

    President calls emergency meeting in Brasilia for diplomats

 

by Fabiola Moura and Rachel Gamarski, Bloomberg

March 20, 2017

 

Brazil’s government moved to head off a crisis over allegations that meat exporters had bribed inspectors to approve tainted beef for sale and export by summoning ambassadors to reassure them they have nothing to worry about.

 

President Michel Temer and his agriculture minister met with top diplomats of the European Union, Sweden, Canada and other countries to say slaughterhouses were being properly audited and that Brazilian meat is safe to eat. Temer said he was headed out for a steak afterward and encouraged others to do the same. Separately, China was said to have temporarily suspended beef imports from Brazil.

 

“This is an urgent issue since it has repercussions for us internally and abroad,” Temer told reporters. “We spoke with embassies so that they could pass the word onto their governments in regards to any concern from the previous days. I invite everyone to go out to a Brazilian steakhouse now.”

 

Temer then dined with 19 ambassadors at a 119 reais ($39) per person all-you-can-eat steakhouse, sitting between the Chinese and Angolan diplomats.

 

Federal authorities said that an investigation unveiled Friday showed about 40 companies, including JBS SA and BRF SA, had been involved in illicit activities such as bribing inspectors to approve the sale and export of spoiled meat and adding chemical substances to mask the poor quality. While the companies have denied the allegations, including through full-page ads in Brazil’s newspapers and spots on TV, their shares have tumbled at a time when both JBS and BRF are trying to access capital markets again.

 

Explanations Sought

 

The European Committee for Health and Food Safety is aware of the investigation and is seeking additional information, according to an emailed statement Sunday. The committee said it hasn’t found any irregularities with health certificates related to meat from Brazil since 2015. China and the U.S. have also requested explanations, O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported, without saying how it obtained the information.

 

China temporarily suspended imports from Brazil, according to people who received notice from the country’s quarantine authority. Goods currently at sea or at port will not be able to clear customs, according to one of the people. The China Meat Association is collecting information from individual companies about their purchases from Brazil and any potential losses they may have, Zhao Anli, an official at the group’s import and export sub-branch, said Monday.

 

Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said after the meeting Sunday that the issues unearthed by the investigations are not generalized or widespread in the industry, and that authorities are working to ensure the highest quality hygiene and transparency.

 

“Brazil’s industry is robust and strong but it isn’t infallible,” he said. “We’re making sure that what’s being produced now is getting the proper inspection.”

 

The presidency said in a statement that of more than 4,000 plants in the country only 21 are being probed, and that 33 of a total 11,000 employees in the industry are under investigation.

 

Executive Arrested

 

Federal police served hundreds of court orders related to the investigation on Friday, including more than 30 detention warrants, in what local media said was the largest police operation in the country’s history. Roney Nogueira dos Santos, a BRF executive, was arrested at Sao Paulo’s international airport on Saturday after arriving from South Africa. BRF said in an emailed statement that he surrendered to the authorities and is available to give all clarifications needed.

 

China and Hong Kong, which together are the biggest export market for Brazilian meat, were the destination for about a third of the $5.5 billion of beef shipped from Latin America’s largest economy last year, according to the meat exporters group Abiec.

 

The European Union is the second-largest market, with 13 percent of the exports. China and Hong Kong are also the biggest Brazilian market for chicken, while the European Union ranks third, according to the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein Abpa.

 

Retail Chains

 

Some of the tainted meat was sold domestically for school meals or to retail chains including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to police and Brazil’s Federal Revenue agency. Some was exported -- police allege three BRF cargoes tainted with salmonella are still en route to Europe. Wal-Mart said in a statement that it has requested explanations from the suppliers cited by the police, and that its internal procedures on food safety are reliable.

 

The U.S. bought $297.8 million of red meat from Brazil in 2016, according to government data. That’s a fraction of the roughly $200 billion of meat Americans consume annually, the bulk of it from domestic sources, according to the North American Meat Institute.

 

While prosecutors of the so-called “Weak Flesh” probe said the practice was widespread in the industry, there have been no cases of individuals getting sick from consuming the products, and Brazilians over the weekend were mostly buying meat as usual. It was alleged that some of the meat, including sausages and cold cuts, was adulterated with ingredients including pig heads, and that suspect smells were masked by applying acid.

 

Brazil’s Federal Inspection Service is one of the most efficient and rigorous worldwide, the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture said Saturday in a statement. On Friday, it said that while the scandal revealed only isolated cases, it may more broadly harm the country’s global trade reputation.

 

Salmonella Strain …

 

Expansion Plans …

 

more

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-19/brazil-tainted-meat-probe-widens-as-trade-partners-study-impact

 

 

Brazil's Latest Scandal: Bribes, Acid and Tainted Meat Exports

 

    Affected food allegedly sold in Brazil to schools, Wal-Mart

    JBS, BRF stocks and bonds plunge after police search plants

 

by Gerson Freitas Jr, Tatiana Freitas, and Fabiana Batista, Bloomberg

March 17, 2017

 

Brazilians are used to scandal and allegations of corruption, but the latest headline-grabbing police investigation has the country entering new realms that are both stomach-turning and slightly surreal.

 

Federal authorities announced Friday they’re investigating evidence that companies including JBS SA and BRF SA, the nation’s largest meat producers, bribed government officials to approve the sale and export of soiled meat. Federal police served hundreds of court orders, including more than 30 detention warrants, in what local media says is the largest police operation in the country’s history.

 

Police released transcripts of recorded conversations showing how agricultural inspectors were bribed, sometimes in the form of prime cuts of beef. It’s alleged that some of the meat, including sausages and cold cuts, was adulterated with ingredients including pig heads, and that suspect smells were masked by applying acid. Inspectors who refused to comply, it’s alleged, were reassigned elsewhere by the meat companies.

 

"It seems like magic realism," Marcos Josegrei da Silva, the judge responsible for overseeing the so-called Weak Flesh investigation, said in a court order. "Unfortunately, it is not."

 

School Meals

 

Some of the tainted meat was sold as school meals and to retail chains including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to police and Brazil’s Federal Revenue agency. Some was exported -- police allege three BRF cargoes tainted with salmonella are still en route to Europe.

 

Wal-Mart said in a statement it has requested explanations from the suppliers cited by the police and that its internal procedures on food safety are reliable.

 

Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry said that while the scandal revealed isolated cases, it may harm the country’s reputation in global trade. Eumar Novacki, a secretary at the ministry, told journalists in Brasilia that repercussions of the case were "concerning" as some importers may question Brazil’s food security system. The country is the world’s largest beef and chicken exporter, accounting for almost a fifth of global exports.

 

"I think long and hard before buying meat now," Police Chief Mauricio Moscardi said in a press conference in Curitiba. "All 40 companies we investigated had issues."

 

Another Scandal ...

 

‘Weak Flesh’ ...

 

more

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-17/brazil-meat-producers-jbs-brf-probed-in-alleged-bribery-scheme

 

 

Brazilian beef and poultry industry plunged into major scandal

 

Jim Breen, AgriLand (Ireland, UK)

March 18, 2017

 

Authorities in Brazil have suspended over 30 government officials in response to allegations that some of the country’s biggest meat processors have been “selling rotten beef and poultry for years”, according to the reports from the BBC this morning.

 

The BBC has said that “three meat processing plants have been closed and another 21 are under scrutiny”. While some of the meat produced by the factories is consumed domestically, much of it is exported here to Europe. Brazil is currently the world’s largest exporter of red meat.

 

Meanwhile, it is believed that Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi is hurriedly arranging to meet foreign ambassadors over the coming days in a bid to prevent sanctions being imposed on Brazil’s beef and poultry exports.

 

The so-called Operation Weak Flesh was launched by Brazilian authorities early yesterday, Friday, March 17 across multiple Brazilian states. This followed an apparent two-year investigation.

 

Raids were carried out by federal police, according to the BBC, in almost 200 locations. Over 1,000 officers and officials were involved in the large-scale operation.

 

Among the allegations is a charge that politicians and official health inspectors were, in some instances, bribed by plant managers.

 

‘Potato, Water And Cardboard Mixed With Chicken’

 

Police sources have claimed that some of the processing plants used acid and other chemicals – some of which were said to be carcinogenic – to mask or alter products. It is alleged that potato, water and cardboard were mixed with chicken meat to boost profits.

 

According to the BBC, more than 30 companies were involved in the raids, including JBS – reputed to be the world’s largest beef exporter. BRF – one of the world’s biggest poultry producers – was also targeted. Both companies deny the allegations.

 

According to reports from the New York Times, the alleged ‘scheme’ involved bribery allowing rotten meat to be served in Brazil’s public schools and salmonella-contaminated meat to be exported to Europe...

 

more

http://www.agriland.ie/farming-news/brazilian-meat-industry-plunged-into-major-scandal/

 

 

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

 

Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Reuters

Mar 20, 2017

 

Shares of meatpackers BRF SA and JBS SA slumped on Monday after China and other countries temporarily suspended imports of Brazilian meat following a scandal over alleged bribery of inspectors.

 

Common shares in BRF and JBS dropped as much as 10 percent early on Monday, making them the biggest decliners by far on Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index.

 

A source told Reuters China's temporary imports ban is a "precautionary measure."

 

Earlier in the day, Bloomberg News had reported that Brazilian beef products currently on the way to China would not get clearance at customs, citing a source who was notified of the decision.

 

Credit Suisse Securities analyst Victor Saragiotto wrote in a Monday note to clients that the scandal "could be enough to compromise temporarily Brazilian protein's acceptance worldwide."

 

more

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-corruption-food-stocks-idUSKBN16R1GB

 

 

Down But Not Out, Brazil's Lula Mulls an Unlikely Return

 

    Former president currently leads polls for 2018 election

    Lula faces five corruption charges and high rejection ratings

 

by Samy Adghirni, Bloomberg

March 17, 2017

 

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva remains such a towering figure in Brazilian politics that even his absence casts a shadow.

 

When President Michel Temer last week inaugurated a long-awaited irrigation project in Monteiro, a dusty town in Brazil’s arid northeast, much of the praise from locals and visiting dignitaries went to Lula for launching the much-needed infrastructure over a decade ago.

 

"I thank God for the works," said Joao Bezerra, a grizzled 51-year old farmer. "But I also thank the man who started it: Lula."

 

The 71-year old former metal worker, trade union leader and two-time president retains the devotion of many Brazilians, particularly in the northeast. Despite a devastating corruption scandal, much of which originated on his watch, and the catastrophic unraveling of the economy under his hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, Lula is considering a comeback. Facing no fewer than five separate criminal charges against him -- three linked to Operation Carwash -- the leftwing leader is still the most popular in opinion polls only 18 months ahead of the next presidential race...

 

Lula’s Legacy ...

 

Rejection Ratings ...

 

more

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-03-17/down-but-not-out-brazil-s-lula-mulls-an-unlikely-return

 

 

HOW BRAZIL’S MEAT SCANDAL COULD IMPACT EXPORTS

The meat industry is one of the cornerstones of the Brazilian economy

 

By plus55 > Brazil Business

Mar 19, 2017

 

It took Brazil’s meat industry decades to convince the world that their products were quality. In fact, even Oscar-winning actor Robert de Niro appeared on commercials vouching for Brazil’s processed meat. The country is now the world’s second-largest meat exporter, shipping beef, pork, and poultry to over 150 countries. Every year, exports brought $14.5 billion to Brazil. However, chances are those numbers will go down very soon. Way down.

 

Brazil’s Federal Police unveiled a scheme that bribed federal auditors in exchange for sanitary permits to rotten beef and poultry containing cardboard fragments. That episode is capable of destroying the image of the entire sector. While JBS and BRF, the industry’s leaders, lost almost $2 billion in one day, other players who are not in the scandal suffered multi-million losses as well.

 

“In other countries, consumers don’t know the multitude of Brazil’s meat brands. For them, it’s all Brazilian meat,” says Blenda Lara, a lawyer specialized in foreign trade.

 

She continues: “Things get even bleaker when we analyze that JBS and BRF, which are at the center of the scandal, are present in other sectors of the food industry, like dairy products. Consumers could boycott not only their meat but their entire production.”

 

Less than one year ago, Brazil had pulled an amazing deal to allow its beef into the U.S. market after 17 years of negotiations. American safety standards for foreign products are among the world’s strictest, and many countries could follow the U.S. in opening their markets to Brazilian beef.

 

Following the scandal, it would be a surprise if the U.S. didn’t back down from the deal.

 

Other countries might force prices down or even forbid imports from Brazil altogether, as the European Union has threatened. The bloc’s ambassador to Brazil, João Gomes Cravinho, told O Globo that the EU will suspend imports unless Brazil offers sufficient explanations to the problem. Today, Brazil is the EU’s biggest poultry supplier.

 

News couldn’t be worse for a country highly dependent on the agribusiness.

 

Understand Brazil’s meat scandal ...

 

more

http://plus55.com/brazil-business/news/2017/03/brazils-meat-scandal-impact-exports