Largest ever search-and-raid operation in alleged food fraud investigation launched by Brazilian police.
Dozens of meat processors officers were searched by Brazilian federal police last Friday, including pork and poultry processors JBS S.A. and BRF S.A. A two-year investigation into alleged bribery of regulators to subvert plant inspections lead to 194 raids by more than 1,100 officers, reports Reuters.
The investigation, known as “Operation Weak Flesh,” had uncovered about 40 cases of meatpackers who had bribed inspectors and politicians to ignore unsanitary practices, police said. Regulators in the states of Paraná, Minas Gerais and Goiás helped producers place adulterated products in the marketplace by bribing state food safety auditors to issue fake sanitary permits and forgo normal oversight work.
According to the statement, police
said they arrested three BRF employees and two JBS employees, as well as 20 public officials in the “Federal Police’s largest ever search-and-raid operation ever.”
In a securities filing, JBS SA stated “The operation conducted today involves companies located in several regions of Brazil, and also involves three of JBS’ facilities, two in Paraná and one in Goiás. In the facility located in Lapa, in the state of Paraná, a judicial measure was issued against one of its veterinarians, a JBS employee, who performs auxiliary inspections services for the Ministry of Agriculture.
JBS and its subsidiaries rigidly follow all regulatory guidelines in connection with the production and sale of food products in Brazil and globally, and supports all efforts aimed at punishing any violation.”
BRF did not have an immediate comment on the investigation.