Brazilian Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi told national media that the EU’s agricultural representative had called him by telephone and that they are due to meet today to discuss the issue. He also confirmed he had been in contact with the heads of the two meat producers involved in the scandal, JBS and BRF.
The EU and the Merosur trading bloc are set to press on with negotiations on a massive trade deal and the South American powerhouse is naturally concerned that this scandal could jeopardise those talks. A foreign ministry representative admitted that “it really complicates negotiations”.
“This problem affects and will affect everyone. I do not know what the consequences will be but we are going to have problems and we will have to work hard in order to minimise their impact. We have a robust, rigid system that is validated by our international buyers but it fails when people are corrupted and that is regrettable,” Blairo Maggi explained.
Brazil, one of the world’s largest food producers, was rocked by a police operation on Friday (17 March) where it was revealed that large meat producers had bribed health inspectors to certify tainted food as safe for human consumption.