… Meatpacker Minerva is among the companies targeted by the latest probes, Arcelino Vieira Damasceno, federal police superintendent in Tocantins, told journalists…
Something smells rotten in Brazilian food companies: probes into bribed inspections
May 17th 2017
Brazilian police on Tuesday opened two separate investigations into whether certain food companies improperly received favorable treatment from the Agriculture Ministry, the latest probe ensnaring the powerful farming sector. The probes into whether inspection procedures were relaxed for meatpacking, dairy and other food companies come two months after industry leaders JBS SA and BRF SA were rocked by allegations of bribing food inspectors.
The investigations have shaken confidence in Brazil's once-solid agricultural sector, leading some countries to suspend imports of Brazilian meat for about a week and weighing on profits of several industry powerhouses. One of the two newly launched probes involves an alleged scheme to delay or cancel fines in in return for some 3 million reais (US$965,000) in bribes between 2010 and 2016, police said.
Federal police said in a statement they were arresting 10 people in the states of Tocantins, Pará, São Paulo and Pernambuco related to the allegations.
Meatpacker Minerva is among the companies targeted by the latest probes, Arcelino Vieira Damasceno, federal police superintendent in Tocantins, told journalists.
Minerva, whose shares slumped 3.3%, said in a statement that it was cooperating with the probe, adding that it follows “rigid corporate governance norms” and that its “operations conform to all applicable legislation.”
The federal police said they are also investigating improper protection of food companies as well as persecution of government food inspectors through disciplinary procedures and unfounded removals.
Several Agriculture Ministry supervisors in Santa Catarina have been removed from their jobs as part of the probe, which found evidence that unnamed companies imported chemically adulterated fish without adequate oversight...