Saudi Arabia halted chicken and beef imports from four Brazilian plants that the South American nation’s authorities are investigating for possible sales of tainted meat.
The kingdom’s Food & Drug Authority stopped imports of beef, poultry and products from four plants operated by BRF SA, Seara Alimentos Ltda, JJZ Alimentos SA and Frango DM Industria e Comercio de Alimentos Ltda, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Consumers were advised to avoid or get rid of products from those plants. All four facilities are being investigated by Brazil’s federal authorities in the Weak Flesh Probe, according to a list posted on Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry website.
Saudi Arabia imported 744,000 metric tons of Brazilian chicken meat in the period from February 2016 through January this year, making it the second-biggest buyer after China and Hong Kong combined, according to Brazilian meat exporters group Abiec. Its beef imports were 28,676 tons over the same period.
Brazilian authorities said last week that an investigation showed about 40 companies, including JBS SA and BRF, had been involved in illicit activities such as bribing inspectors to approve the sale of spoiled meat and adding chemical substances to mask the poor quality. The companies have denied the allegations.
Brazil’s exports of meat and products to Arab nations came to $574 million in the first two months this year, out of Brazil’s total exports of $1.8 billion to the same countries, according to the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce.
Some of the world’s biggest meat buyers are slapping limits on supplies from Brazil as producers in the country become embroiled in the tainted-meat scandal. China has suspended beef imports from Brazil and Vietnam halted imports of cattle, poultry and meat products from 21 Brazilian slaughtering and processing facilities.