BRF plunge into crises
Brazilian federal police on Monday announced a new phase in an investigation dubbed“Weak Flesh” targeting a business group accused of acting fraudulently to evade food security checks. The turmoil at Brazilian poultry giant BRF SA intensified after it became the target of a new phase of the food-safety probe that threw the country’s meat industry into disarray last year.
Emails from BRF employees point to evidence of widespread fraud that reached the company’s top management, federal police said at a press conference on Monday in Curitiba. The wrongdoing allegedly occurred between 2012 and 2015, police said, and involved executives from all areas and levels of the company. Three BRF poultry plants are targeted in the investigation.
The news piles pressure on BRF, which is at the center of a bitter shareholder dispute that could result in the removal of its entire board after the chicken producer reported the worst results in its history. Over the weekend, pension funds that own a combined 22 percent of the company’s shares presented their candidates for a new board. BRF Chairman Abilio Diniz has called a meeting for Monday to discuss the request.
According to a police statement, five laboratories accredited with the Agriculture Ministry and an unnamed company falsified results of tests on meat samples. The motive was to hide poor sanitary conditions and incidences of salmonella above requirements set by certain importers, avoiding sales restrictions and punishments, the ministry said in a separate statement. Exports from the plants targeted in the probe have been halted to some destinations with specific salmonella-control requirements, including the European Union, Russia, China and South Africa, the ministry said.