By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Linked to the recent tainted meat scandal, Brazilian meat processing giant, JBS, announced on Thursday it was suspending beef production in 33 of its 36 plants located in Brazil for three days. According to the company, production will be decreased by 35 percent in the coming weeks in all plants in the country until the industry’s situation has been re-assessed.
“These measures are aimed at adjusting production until there is a definition regarding the embargoes imposed by the Brazilian meat importing countries,” said the JBS note to investors.
The company also notes ‘it is committed to maintaining the employment of its 125,000 employees throughout Brazil’. Earlier this week another meat processing plant closed its doors due to the scandal, laying off more than 280 employees.
JBS along with meat giant BRF have been caught in a two-year investigation by Brazil’s federal police, that has found meat-packing plants adulterating tainted meat so as to appear fresh and repackaging beef and chicken past its due-dates.
Although most meat plants investigated belong to smaller, competing companies, the two multinational meat giants have seen their share worth in international stock markets plummet as major Brazilian meat importers ban temporarily beef and chicken from the South American country.
In addition to the European Union, at least fourteen countries have temporarily suspended the importation of Brazilian meat from the 21 plants investigated.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the shipment of Brazilian meat, which before the Operação Carne Fraca (Weak Flesh Operation) registered daily export averages of around US$63 million, on Tuesday, March 21st was registering daily averages of only US$74,000.