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JBS S.A. resuming operations as 63 indicted in Brazilian meat scandal

Photology1971/iStock/Thinkstock raw meat cuts
Assortment of raw beef and pork pieces on wooden table
JBS S.A., BRF S.A. employees included in indictments.

The Federal Public Prosecutor's Office (MPF) in Paraná published this week its final report regarding the two-year Operation Weak Flesh investigation into 21 meatpacking plants, including multinational companies BRF and JBS, two of the world’s largest meat producers and exporters. A total of 63 people, including federal employees, have been indicted for their role in a corruption scheme that sold expired or adulterated meat. Charges include falsifying medical records and certificates, tampering with food products, conspiracy and corruption.

A low-level manager at Seara, a pork and poultry production and processing business unit of JBS S.A., was indicted allegedly due to his relationship with federal inspectors. The manager was not in an executive role and has been suspended by the company.

The company suspended a number of its Brazilian operations following the March 17 federal police raids, but operations will resume for some of those plants beginning next week. JBS spokesperson Cameron Bruett said in a statement that six of the ten Brazilian beef units under furlough will resume operations April 24, as previously planned.  “The other 4 plants will resume operations on May 2, upon the conclusion of refurbishment activities, operational adjustments and equipment replacement activities,” she added.

Two BRF SA executives were charged for their role in a scheme to bribe health officials, prosecutors said. Federal prosecutors in the state of Parana allege both BRF director Andre Luiz Baldissera and government relations executive Roney Nogueira took part in a scheme to bribe officials in return for less rigorous plant inspections.

In addition to the two BRF SA executives, additional BRF employees, as well as public officials and health inspectors, were charged.

The scandal has cost the Brazilian export market an estimated $1.5 billion in lost revenue.

TAGS: Business
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