BRF under probe in Brazil for omitting info on salmonella in meat

Fraud was discovered in documents dated from 2012 to 2015. Eleven

Published in 05/03/2018 - 15:49 By Andréia Verdélio reports from Agência Brasil - Brasília

BRF, one of the world's biggest food companies, is the main target in the third stage of Operation Weak Flesh, launched Monday (Mar. 5) by the Federal Police.

The food giant has been brought under scrutiny for forging lab results concerning contamination with Salmonella pullorum. The fraud was found to have taken place from 2012 to 2015. Eleven individuals have been targeted by arrests warrants, among them former BRF executives.

Spreadsheets and technical reports were falsified and their fraudulent results were handed in to the Federal Inspection Service in order to prevent the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply from monitoring BRF meatpacking units and slaughterhouses, reported Federal Police Commissioner Maurício Boscardi Grillo. The real amount of salmonella was omitted in some cases.

The food given to chickens before the slaughter is also believed to have been altered. Grillo says that e-mails exchanged between executives and employees on quality control are consistent in bringing the scheme to light, which was conducted as part of the “company strategies.”

“[It] starts on associated poultry farms, where the contamination takes place. Then it goes on to meatpacking plants, and then reaches lab analysis,” Grillo declared.

Salmonella

Officials from Brazil's Agriculture Ministry are also working in cooperation with the Federal Police. In a note, the ministry explained that, of the two thousand strains of salmonella, two can cause real concerns to animal health as well as public health. As a result, companies must adopt specific measures on poultry farms and in production to reduce consumer risks.

According to Alexandre Campos da Silva, coordinator-general at the Department for Inspection on Animal-derived Products of the Agriculture Ministry, the risk to public health has not been “duly ascertained,” as salmonella itself may not pose risks, depending on how it is consumed.

Police probes have found that three laboratories accredited with the Ministry of Agriculture and two control laboratories belonging to the company forged the results of examinations. BRF executives, as well as the firm's technical staff and quality control professionals are believed to have colluded in the fraud scheme.


Translated by Fabrício Ferreira


Fonte: BRF under probe in Brazil for omitting info on salmonella in meat

Edition: Denise Griesinger / Mariana Branco

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