China has joined South Korea and the European Union in banning the importation of meat from Brazil over health concerns.
“As the largest importer of meat from Brazil, China expresses concerns about the quality of Brazilian meat.
“Chinese authorities have taken temporary measures in a timely manner,” Commerce Ministry spokesman Sun Jiwen said.
Meat imported from Brazil is already being pulled off stores in Brazil, with ships carrying meat from Brazil stranded at ports.
South Africa, Japan, Chile, Egypt and Mexico have also banned the importation of meat from Brazil because of the scandal.
Brazilian authorities announced last week that they were investigating evidence that government officials had been taking bribe to allow for the sale of spoiled meat.
Twenty-one meat processing plants were being investigated, and 30 officials had been suspended, the Brazilian government said.
Federal Inspectors, who took bribes to allow adulteration and expiration of processed foods, have also been arrested.
“We got a very big shock, a blow that this sector did not deserve,” the Agriculture minister, Blairo Maggi, told the Brazilian Senate.
In a statement to the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, the government said, “The standards of excellence of our products are among the best in the world.”
Of 2,300 inspectors, just 33 are being investigated, and of nearly 5,000 meatpacking plants, only 21 are under suspicion, the statement said. Exports from all of those plants have been suspended.