China, Chile, and the European Union on Monday banned some imports of meat from Brazil, as news spread of corrupt inspectors allegedly allowing rotten meat to make it onto the market from one of the world’s top meat exporters. The moves come as Brazilian officials struggle to persuade trading partners that reports of tainted meat are exaggerated and “alarmist.” Police on Friday raided more than a dozen meat-packing companies as part of a two-year investigation into corrupt practices that allegedly allowed rotten and salmonella-tainted meat products to pass inspection. Federal police have named BRF SA, the world’s biggest poultry producer, and JBS SA, the world’s biggest meat producer, as two of the companies under investigation. Both companies have denied any wrongdoing. Brazilian Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said the government had halted exports from 21 of the country’s meat producers, though he played down the reports of tainted meat. Speaking to reporters in Brasilia, he said a few isolated incidents of corruption were being used to sully the entire meat industry, Reuters reported. Maggi added that a full ban on Brazilian meat products would be a “disaster.” “I pray, I hope, I work so that does not happen,” he said.
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