Fallout from a corruption scandal in Brazil's massive meat industry has spread, with China and South Korea suspending some imports and the European Union mulling action. As Silvia Antonioli reports, the Brazilian police operation could deal a heavy blow to one of the few sectors of Latin America's largest economy that has thrived during a two-year recession.
Eating a juicy Brazilian stake.... ...maybe for pleasure but mostly for business. Brazil's President Michel Temer trying to reassure that eating local meat is safe after all. This, after police raided a series of meatpacking companies alleging some of them had paid off health officials to hide unsanitary conditions. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE AGRICULTURE MINISTRY, EUMAR NOVACKI, SAYING: "We have found that this includes beef and some animal feed companies... Obviously if we still have these products on the market we will withdraw them immediately and take action accordingly. With regards to exports, we still don't have any information, at this stage it is concerned with the domestic market." This is the latest corruption scandal hitting a country trying to recover from its deepest recession on record. It hits hard a sector worth some $12 billion in exports and risks damaging the country's reputation. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, SAYING: "My suscpicion is that speculators will look at the big picture in relation to Brazil rather than focus on the near term concerns that this may bring. But if it grows, if the scandal grows and does ultimately result in major political problems for the ruling regime, then that could be another matter." Temer's steakhouse stop was not enough to quell concerns abroad. China said "no thanks" and announced it would suspend Brazilian meat imports at least temporarily. And a meat exporters association in Brazil said this will hinder planned exports to new buyers: Japan and Mexico. Not a great help to President Temer's great turnaround plans.