RIO DE JANEIRO – China, one of the first countries to suspend imports of Brazilian meat following revelations that a mafia bribed inspectors to sell expired products, has decided to fully reopen its market, a senior official in the South American country said Saturday.
“China has announced the complete reopening of its market to Brazilian meat. This categorically certifies the solidity and quality of Brazil’s sanitation system,” Brazilian Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said in a statement.
China is one of the leading markets for meat processed in Brazil, the world’s leading beef and poultry exporter and fourth-leading pork exporter.
Chilean authorities, meanwhile, announced Saturday that they had decided to end a total ban on imports of Brazilian beef and limit the restriction to products from the 21 processing plants cited in the investigation.
Authorities say investigators have found violations at 21 Brazilian meatpacking plants, including ones operated by industry giants JBS and BRF.
The alleged violations include the use of chemicals to disguise the look and smell of expired meat and payment of bribes to inspectors to ensure shipments of adulterated products.
The scandal has further hurt recession-hit Brazil’s image, already damaged by a massive bribes-for-inflated-contracts scandal centered on state oil company Petrobras; caused the stock prices of JBS and BRF to plunge; and threatened thousands of jobs.