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BRF accused of using banned substances in feed

An investigation in Brazil accused BRF of using banned substances in feed and falsifying documents and labels to evade food safety checks.

Brazil-imports
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11 charged in case that also alleges falsifying of documents to evade food safety checks

Eleven people have been charged by federal prosecutors in Brazil in an investigation that accuses BRF, one of the world’s largest poultry and compound feed producers, of using banned substances in feed and falsifying documents and labels to evade food safety checks.

According to a Reuters report, the charges stem from a federal investigation called “Trickery,” or “Trapaça” in Portuguese, which began in March 2018.

Those charged include two of the company’s former vice presidents for quality, who are accused of using banned substances and misrepresenting to regulators the amounts of certain ingredients used in their premix feeds. The report said the substances added to the feed were “potent antibiotics” that are usually restricted for safety reasons.

Subsequently, prosecutors said, company representatives deliberately deceived federal auditors to hide the activity by committing other frauds, “such as the removal of stocks of substances used in the manufacturing of the premix and the manipulation of samples.”

No current employees of the company have been charged with wrongdoing. Reuters said BRF plans to continue cooperating with the investigation and that it does not condone illegal practices.

Probe derived from ‘Weak Flesh’ investigation

The “Trickery” investigation is derived from the “Weak Flesh” investigation started in 2017 that accused Brazilian meat companies, including BRF, of bribing Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Farming inspectors to allow spoiled or adulterated meat to be sold and exported. As a result of that probe, several export markets were closed to Brazilian meat companies. The European Union has not yet lifted its ban on Brazilian meat imports.

In October, BRF said it was cooperating with authorities in the latest investigation related to the Operation Weak Flesh scandal. In an announcement to the market on the BRF investor relations webpage, BRF stated that it is collaborating with authorities concerning “the clarification of the facts raised under the investigations conducted by the Federal Police and the Brazilian General Prosecutor.” In the same announcement, BRF stated that none of its offices, facilities, or managers were subject to any search and seizure procedures within the scope of this operation.

According to WATTAgNet.com and FeedStrategy.com data, BRF slaughtered 1.6 million birds in 2018 and produced 10.5 million metric tons of premix and compound feed the same year.

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