According to reports, three meat processing plants have been closed in Brazil while another 21 are under investigation.
The allegations have wide-ranging impact considering Brazil’s status as the world’s largest exporter of red meat.
Raids were reportedly carried out by federal police in almost 200 locations. Over 1,000 officers and officials were involved in the large-scale operation called Operation Weak Flesh.
Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi is believed to be “hurriedly” arranging meetings with foreign ambassadors over the coming days in a bid to prevent sanctions on Brazil’s beef and poultry exports.
Plant managers allegedly bribed politicians and official health inspectors in some instances.
Police sources claimed that some of the processing plants used acid and other chemicals to mask or alter products. It is alleged that potato, water and cardboard were mixed with chicken meat to boost profits.
More than 30 companies were involved in the raids, including JBS, the world’s largest beef exporter. BRF – one of the world’s biggest poultry producers – was also targeted. Both companies deny the allegations.