China, Chile and Egypt lift ban on Brazil meat imports

SANTIAGO – China has lifted a ban on imports of meat from Brazil after the authorities in South American country clarified details of a police investigation into alleged bribery of health inspectors.

Chile and Egypt also followed the move of China, the biggest national consumer of Brazilian meat. A crisis-like situation had been emerging in Brazil that saw one-fifth wiped off the value of Brazilian pork and poultry exports last week.

A slew of major meat importers issued bans after Brazilian federal police unveiled on March 17 an investigation into alleged payments to government health officials by meat processing companies to forego inspections and ignore abuses, codenamed “Operation Weak Flesh”.

Meat is Brazil’s third-largest export, after soy and iron ore. The country sold around $13.5 billion in chicken, beef and pork products last year.

China had suspended imports of all meat products from Brazil, the world’s top beef exporter, on March 20 as a precautionary measure.

Chile on Saturday said it was ending a ban on meat purchases from Brazil, except for the 21 suspended plants, while Egypt also resumed imports after a two day-suspension.