Brazilian president defends meat processors amid rotten meat scandal

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Among those companies under investigations are meat giants JBS and BRF.

Brazil's President Michel Temer has sought to reassure foreign trade partners that the corruption scandal engulfing the country's meat industry does not mean its products are unsafe.

While the media reports referenced a number of second and third-tier meat processing and value-adding companies, some of the largest processors in Brazil, included BRF and JBS, have also been accused by media of wrongdoing.

It added that those companies follow the strictest domestic and worldwide rules and standards for beef, whether that meat is intended for the domestic market or for export markets.

Brazil is the world's biggest red meat exporter.

Brazilian authorities launched raids in six states on Saturday, after a two-year investigation.

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Singapore's biggest supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice confirmed on Monday (March 20) that it carries poultry products from two Brazilian suppliers caught in a rotten meat scandal, and is seeking clarification from them.

"Agribusiness for us in Brazil is incredibly important and cannot be devalued by a small group, by a minor thing that can be investigated, regulated and punished if needed", Temer told business leaders in Sao Paulo. "We don't use national brands because their quality has fallen over the last three years".

"We have complete confidence in our approach to food safety and product quality in Brazil, and in all of our operations around the world".

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, European Union spokesman Enrico Brivio said the Brazilian companies involved in alleged bribery would be temporarily barred from shipping meat to the EU.

The Commission said the scandal would not affect negotiations between the European Union and South American bloc Mercosur about agreements on free trade.

Alongside Ministers of Agriculture and Commerce Blairo Maggi and Marco Pereira, Temer emphasized that "among over 11,000 employees in the meat sector only 33 are under invetigation, and of 4,837 freezer warehouses, only 21 have presumably violated regulations". "Should I eat it or just throw it all away? If I lived in the countryside, I'd start raising my own cows and chickens!"

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