Brazil raids food giants for selling rotten meat

Brazil's Federal Revenue agency, in a separate statement, said federal agents, who inspect agricultural goods, allegedly agreed to clear spoiled food that was unfit for human consumption and allow it to be to sold domestically to schools, be exported. "It's horrifying", said Alex Silva, a livestock analyst with Scot Consultoria. Brazil is the world's largest beef and chicken exporter, accounting for nearly a fifth of global exports.

JBS said in a securities filing that three of its plants and one of its employees were targeted in the probe, but its senior executives and headquarters were not targeted.

JBS shares slumped as much as 8.9 percent and BRF 8.2 percent, the most on Brazil's benchmark stock index.

Police said they saw evidence companies were tampering with packages to sell products that had already expired and that they found higher-than-permitted levels of parts such as pig heads mixed in with sausages and cold cuts. The company says it meets global standards and supports punishing those who do not adhere to regulations.

Shares of education companies Kroton Educacional SA and Est?cio Participa??es SA also fell sharply on a report that top managers at Est?cio were attempting to block a sale to its larger rival Kroton.

Baldissera, Nogueira and Rodrigues could not be reached for comment.

BRF and JBS representatives had influence in choosing the inspectors responsible for overseeing their plants and paid bribes to get clearance for their products, Moscardi said.

Eumar Novacki, the ministry's executive secretary, said there was some concern that other countries would begin blocking shipments of Brazilian meat.

Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi issued a statement saying he had ordered the suspension of 33 government officials accused of involvement with the scheme.

"But the impact will not be as big as it would be if another country had discovered this problem", he said. The food industry raid is the latest in a series of investigations into corruption in Brazil to expose the cozy relations between the government and powerful businesses.

After investigations into political kickbacks on public works and oil and gas contracts, Friday's probe struck at the heart of the booming agricultural sector, one of the few bright spots in Brazil's economy and a major source of exports. "All 40 companies we investigated had issues".

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