RIO DE JANEIRO, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Several countries have announced a temporary suspension of Brazilian meat imports, following a scandal involving adulterated meat, the governmental news agency Agencia Brasil said on Thursday.
Among the countries are South Korea, Japan, Chile, Egypt, Panama and Mexico, as well as the European Union. Some have announced suspension of all Brazilian meat imports, while others decided to suspend only the imports originated from the meatpackers being investigated for adulterating the meat.
The suspension followed last week's announcement by police of "Operation Weak Flesh," which investigated 31 meatpacking companies, which reportedly adulterated expired meat to sell it and paid federal inspectors to turn a blind eye.
The announcement of the operation caused uproar domestically and fueled fears of foreign buyers over the quality of the local products. The suspension represents a heavy blow to the Brazilian meat industry, and it remains unknown how long the sector will take to recover from the damage.
Brazil is a major meat producer and exporter, selling meat, poultry and pork to over 150 countries. According to Agencia Brasil, Brazil exported an average of 63 million-U.S.-dollar worth of meat products per day before the announcement of the operation. Since the announcement, average daily exports fell to 74,000 dollars.
As the largest importer of Brazilian meat, China is highly concerned with the quality issue, Ministry of Commerce Spokesman Sun Jiwen has told a press conference, saying that Chinese authorities have taken "temporary measures" in response to the matter.