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Meat scandal is ‘economic embarrassment’: Temer

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By Associated Press

President Michel Temer called Brazil’s scandal over the sale of expired meat an embarrassment Tuesday as more countries suspended some meat imports from the South American nation.

Workers prep poultry at the meatpacking company JBS, in Lapa, in the Brazilian state of Parana, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Brazil's president said Tuesday that a scandal over sale of expired meat is an "economic embarrassment". On Tuesday, Hong Kong's Center for Food Safety announced that it would temporarily suspend imports of frozen and chilled meat and poultry from Brazil, starting immediately, in response to Brazilian investigators charges that health inspectors were bribed to overlook the sale of expired meats. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres) Manila Bulletin

Workers prep poultry at the meatpacking company JBS, in Lapa, in the Brazilian state of Parana, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres) Manila Bulletin

On Tuesday, Hong Kong, Japan and Mexico announced that they were halting at least some Brazilian meat imports. They joined the European Union, China and Chile, dealing a major blow to the struggling economy of a country that is among the world’s largest exporters of meat.

Temer sought to play down the scandal, calling it a “fuss” and noting that only three of the more than 4,000 meatpacking plants in Brazil had been forced to close. But he acknowledged the case has caused “an economic embarrassment for the country.”

Brazilian investigators charge that health inspectors were bribed to overlook the sale of expired meats. Police also allege that the appearance and smell of expired meats was improved by using chemicals and cheaper products like water and manioc flour.

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