Published:  12:00 AM, 21 March 2017

Brazil confronts fallout from rotten meat scandal

Brazil's President Michel Temer (left) and Angola's ambassador to Brazil Nelson Manuel Cosme in a steak house in Brasilia. Inset shows Michel Temer eating barbecue in a steak house after a meeting with ambassadors of meat importing countries of Brazil.

Brazil's president held crisis talks on Sunday with ministers and foreign ambassadors to try and limit the damage to trade from allegations that major Brazilian producers have been selling rotten meat worldwide.

President Michel Temer even invited ambassadors to a steak dinner. He smiled as he invited diplomats to a traditional Brazilian meat restaurant called a churrascaria, saying "if you accept the invitation we will be very happy.

" Nineteen of the 33 envoys who met with him accepted the offer.  But Temer had the serious mission of calming a scandal threatening the reputation of the world's biggest beef and poultry exporting nation.  The scare started on Friday when police said a two-year probe had found major meat producers bribed health inspectors to certify tainted food as fit for consumption.

The allegations has struck at the heart of the world's leading beef and chicken exporter. Temer - whose government is already battered by a huge embezzlement scandal and Brazil's deepest recession in history - huddled first with meatpacking representatives, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi and Trade Minister Marcos Pereira.

About 150 countries buy meat from Brazil, with principal markets as widespread as Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, Russia, the Netherlands and Italy. Brazil exported about US$5.9 billion (S$8.3 billion) in poultry and US$4.3 billion in beef in 2016, according to Brazilian government data.

Singapore also imports meat from Brazil but  the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said on Monday that the island does not import from the 21 Brazilian meat processing establishments which have been placed under a special surveillance regime amid the investigation.

"None of them are approved to export to Singapore," AVA said in a statement. Three of the establishments have been suspended.

-AFP, Brasilia

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