SA suspends imports after Brazilian ‘weak flesh’ scandal

The two largest Brazilian meat companies implicated in the country’s so-called weak flesh scandal both export chicken meat to South Africa.

The department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries has suspended imports, as have many other countries around the world, but has yet to say whether any tainted meat has been discovered.

The Brazilian government last week released a list of 21 meat companies alleged to have bribed their way out of sanitary standards.

This list is the outcome of that country’s investigation into the sector, which has unearthed terrifying discoveries, such as mixing cardboard and pig heads into sausages, as well as using acid to mask the smell of rotting meat, according to Bloomberg.

Two of the listed companies are exporters of chicken meat to South Africa – Seara Alimentos, a subsidiary of the JSB group, and BRF.

The two are Brazil’s largest meat conglomerates and have borne the brunt of Brazil’s crackdown.

Executives at BRF have been arrested, and police have alleged that the company bribed officials to get salmonella-tainted meat cargoes shipped out to Europe.

The major product destined for South Africa from the two companies is mechanically deboned chicken, a paste that finds its way into products such as chicken sausage or polony.

South Africa imported about 170 000 tons of this product from Brazil last year, according to government trade statistics.

An additional 40 000 tons of frozen “cuts and offal” was also shipped here from Brazil.

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