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Brazilian Meat Producers Caught in Global Scandal

The world's largest meat producers adulterated rotten meat with acid and bribed inspectors to get health certification.

Last Friday, federal police in Brazil raided several meat production facilities, arrested more than 30 people, suspended more than 30 health inspectors, and placed 21 meat-packing plants under investigation. The raid came after the police conducted a two-year investigation across six Brazilian states and uncovered illegal practices—such as bribing health inspectors to certify rotten meat products as safe for consumption—within 30 meat companies, including the world’s largest beef producer JBF. “They used acid and other chemicals to mask the [rotten] aspect of the product,” the police said in a statement. “In some cases, the products used were carcinogenic.” As a result of the scandal, countries around the world (including Switzerland, Hong Kong, and China) have implemented bans on the importing of Brazilian beef. This incident is an example of just one destructive practice of the global animal agriculture industry. An exposé published by environmental group Mighty Earth earlier this month revealed that 200 million hectares of forest land in Brazil and Bolivia is destroyed each year for the sole purpose of raising feed for cattle (which end up on American plates via companies such as Burger King). During a time when consumers increasingly search for transparency within the food industry, all sectors of the animal agriculture continue to disappoint as further evidenced by the rampant fraud in the global fish industry, recently uncovered by conservationist group Oceana.

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