March 20, 2017 / 8:41 AM / in a year

S.Korea bars sales of Brazil's BRF chicken, steps up inspections

SEOUL, March 20 (Reuters) - South Korea will tighten inspections of imported Brazilian chicken meat and temporarily bar sales BRF SA’s chicken products following a scandal in Brazil over tainted meat, the agriculture ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The South Korean ministry said that in future suppliers of Brazilian chicken will be required to submit a health certificate issued by the Brazilian government.

More than 80 percent of the 107,400 tonnes of chicken imported by South Korea last year came from Brazil, and almost half of that was supplied by BRF.

Police in Brazil raided some of the country’s meatpackers on Friday in an investigation into whether some companies were paying bribes to conceal unsanitary conditions, and alleged that some producers had sold rotten and adulterated meat products.

A senior Brazilian agriculture ministry official said, however, that the issues raised did not pose a risk to consumers or exports.

A BRF executive turned himself in for questioning by police investigating alleged bribery on Saturday, and the company issued a statement saying some allegations made by police were false or based on faulty understanding.

“BRF never sold rotten meat,” the company said, adding that mentions of spoiled or contaminated products by police were specifically tied to smaller meatpackers unrelated to BRF.

Battling its worst outbreak of bird flu, South Korea has banned U.S. poultry imports after a case of bird flu was detected at a chicken farm in Tennessee. (Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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