By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Monday, March 5th, federal judge André Wasilewski Duszczak, from the 1st Federal Court of Ponta Grossa (Paraná, Southern Brazil), determined the release of data and communications for the investigated executives from Brasil Food S.A. (BRF), the world’s largest poultry exporter.
Part of the third phase of the Operation ‘Weak Flesh’, the measure is valid for all the seized documents, both digital and physical. The group of executives are being investigated for alleged bribery of food-sanitation inspectors at BRF and other food processors across the country in order to evade food safety inspections.
Complying with the request of the Federal Police, judge André Duszczak issued a five-day temporary prison for eleven BRF representatives, including Pedro Andrade Faria, former global president director of BRF Brazil, and André Luís Baldissera, former operations director.
As stated by the judge, the investigated employees did not notify the food-sanitation department they were informed about for the crime of ideological falsehood and the crime against public health. They did not use their authority in the company to investigate the facts. “Instead, they remained inert and hid the illicit acts,” said Duszczak.
The Federal Police spotted the group’s illegal conduct through the analysis of emails exchanged between BRF representatives. According to the judicial dispatch, the emails included a talk on a labor action run by former BRF supervisor Adriana Marques Carvalho, who claimed to have been pressured by her superiors to alter the laboratorial results, and to simulate the samples’ traceability.
Apart from BRF former directors, other indicted names are Décio Luiz Goldoni, Fabiana Rassweiller de Souza, Fabianne Baldo, Harissa Silvério el Ghoz Frausto, Hélio Rubens Mendes dos Santos Júnior, Luciano Bauer Wienke, Luiz Augusto Fossati, Natacha Camilotti Mascarello and Tatiane Cristina Alviero. The five-day prison can be extended in case of “extreme and proven need”.
“The misconduct of the BRF representatives seriously affects people’s health, since it allows the commercialization of food that was not inspected and could have been inappropriate for consumption. Besides, it compromises Brazil’s reputation as a food exporter,” affirms the judge.
In official statement to its shareholders and the market, BRF informed it is analyzing the details of the operation and that it is collaborating with the investigations.
Launched in March 2017 by Brazil’s Federal Police, the “Carne Fraca” (Weak Flesh) operation aims to investigate the country’s biggest meat processing companies, JBS and BRF, and the quality of the meat produced and traded in Brazil. It also intended to dismantle a corruption scheme involving agricultural inspectors at the Ministry of Agriculture and owners of meat processing plants from Paraná, Minas Gerais and Goiás.