Dozens of Brazilian government officials suspended for exporting rotten meat products

Brazil's JBS says three plants targeted in police raid

Earlier in the day, Bloomberg News had reported that Brazilian beef products now on the way to China would not get clearance at customs, citing a source who was notified of the decision. "We have to consider the scale of this alleged fraud and the reported extent of official involvement because it appears very considerable indeed and that has to mean a systemic problem which can only be countered by a systemic and independent investigation and verification of the produce that the Brazilians have been exporting", he said.

Senior Brazilian Government representatives apparently flew to Beijing over the weekend to try to resolve the issue.

The scandal is threatening Brazil's reputation as the world's biggest beef and poultry-exporting nation. If left unresolved, the ban will inevitably have a huge impact on the Chinese beef market, Beef Central was told.

Chile's Agriculture Minister Carlos Furche also said on Twitter that his government was imposing a "temporary" suspension of meat imports from Brazil.

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In a desperate move to prove that Brazilian meat was safe, President Michel Temer on Sunday night invited ambassadors to a steak dinner against a backdrop of allegations that corrupt exporters had sold deliberately mislabelled rotten meat.

Authorities say the companies used chemicals to improve the appearance and smell of expired meats.

Police said among those arrested were two JBS employees and three BRF employees. Investigators also found evidence that some companies manipulated certificates on meat for export to Spain and Italy. "And only six of them have exported in the past 60 days", said Mr Temer.

"The Federal Police has initiated an investigation, this investigation will continue".

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Nearly all of the investigations were focussed on just one Brazilian state.

JBS, the world's largest meat producer, said in an ad broadcast Saturday night on Brazil's largest TV network that the judge's ruling on the so-called Weak Flesh probe had no mention of quality irregularities involving the company and that the "unfortunate" cases cited by the media do not involve any of its brands.

Shares of Brazilian meat-packers plunged Monday.

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