Stink of Brazil meat corruption scandal puts off China and South Korea

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Meeting ambassadors, Temer had the daunting mission of calming the scandal, which was threatening the reputation of the world's biggest exporter of beef and poultry.

More than 80 per cent of the 107,400 tonnes of chicken imported by South Korea previous year came from Brazil, and nearly half of that was supplied by BRF.

BRF said it was co-operating with the investigation and denied violating regulations. Three plants have been closed and 21 others are being investigated.

While the media reports referenced a number of second and third-tier meat processing and value-adding companies, some of the largest processors in Brazil, included BRF and JBS, have also been accused by media of wrongdoing.

The authorities say there's no sanitary risk, despite allegations by police that some producers had sold rotten and tampered meat products.

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

The President guaranteed that the investigations into the matter had allowed authorities to bust a "small" group of people engaging in the practice and he emphasised the rigorous controls in place on Brazilian meat products, saying that they "have been recognised by all importers".

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.

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Brazil exports its meat to over 150 countries.

The EU is seeking details from the Brazilian government over risks to imports.

Past year the European Commission bowed to pressure from Ireland and other member states and removed beef from its proposed trade deal with South America. He assured them that Brazilian meats are safe and invited them to a Brazilian-style barbeque.

Brazilian President, Michel Temer, created a task force in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply which has already put the 21 slaughterhouses involved in the Federal Police's Carne Fraca operation under a "special inspection regime".

Nineteen of the 33 envoys who met him accepted the offer. But he insisted that the bad meat and faked certificates occurred in only "very few businesses" and did not represent a wider problem.

"The federal government wants to reiterate its confidence in the quality of our national product".

However, European farmers fear they will be unable to compete with cheaper beef imports from South America, where the cost of production is significantly lower than in Europe.