Brazilian police raided the premises of global meatpacking companies JBS SA and BRF SA March 17 as part of a corruption probe. Authorities allege bribery of health officials that could impact the country's $12 billion in annual meat exports.
The probe, dubbed "Operation Weak Flesh," found evidence that the companies bribed inspectors and politicians to overlook unsanitary practices regarding the products. They allege that the companies processed rotten meat and shipped exports with traces of salmonella. Three BRF employees, two JBS employees and about 20 public officials were arrested in the raids, reported Reuters (March 17).
"We've never seen a scandal like this in the sector... It's horrifying," said Alex Silva, a livestock analyst with Scot Consultoria. "This stains the entire system that Brazil has spent years building."
Brazil's Agriculture Ministry temporarily closed three plants tied to the investigation. One was operated by BRF and two were run by a smaller rival company, Grupo Peccin. Authorities began removing their meat products from supermarkets.
Brazilian President Michel Temer did his best to stem the international fallout connected to the probe, meeting with EU and Chilean officials to discuss the matter March 19. The president noted that only a small percentage of the country's 11,000 inspectors were involved in the probe, and that only three of the country's 4,800 meatpacking facilities were connected to the probe, reported Miami Herald (March 19).
Temer said that a special task force would be created to investigate the matter. He said a list of countries where the meat was exported to would be released, and the name of the meatpackers responsible would be published. Currently, it is known that some of the expired meat was sent to the EU. The country exported about $6.9 billion worth of poultry and $5.5 billion worth of beef in 2016, as producers began to send fresh beef to the U.S. and ramped up shipments to China.
Grocery shopping has evolved from a Main Street event (where we go to our local market frequently to purchase food and goods) to an order most anything, from anywhere, at any time online. Online shopping, which started off slowly, was initially an underwhelming choice for consumers. As the internet grew along with smartphones, more started to shop online.read more
According to recent data from the Plant Based Food Association (PBFA), U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods outpaced total food sales during the pandemic by a considerable margin. Peak panic buying in mid-March saw plant-based food sales up 90% compared to the previous year. This trend continued for the following four weeks, with total plant-based food sales rising 35% faster than total retail...read more
Chris is a business writer and market analyst that focuses on the Markets, Legal and Washington sections of the Food Institute Report. In addition, he assists in compiling data for various Food Institute publications throughout the year. He invites you to contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about anything food-related.
10 Mountainview Road
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Food Institute reps are available to answer your questions
BECOME A MEMBER
For close to 90 years, The Food Institute has been the best "single source" for food industry executives, delivering actionable information daily via email updates, weekly through The Food Institute Report and via a comprehensive web research library. Our information gathering method is not just a "keyword search."