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CAIRO, March 23 (Reuters) - Egypt has halted Brazilian meat imports until they are confirmed to be safe for consumption, an Egyptian government spokesman told Reuters on Thursday.
The announcement follows an investigation by Brazil into their meatpacking industry. Brazilian police have accused more than 100 people, mostly health inspectors, of taking bribes for allowing the sale of rancid products, falsifying export documents or failing to inspect meatpacking plants.
But Egypt’s agriculture ministry spokesperson, Hamid Abdel Dayim, stopped short of announcing an outright ban on the imports.
"We have not stopped imports, only delayed them until the situation is clearer. We are following up on the situation with the companies and butchers that we deal with," he told Reuters.
In recent days Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland China, the European Union, South Korea and Chile have announced partial or all-out bans on Brazilian meat imports.
On Friday, Brazil's police named BRF SA and JBS SA, along with dozens of smaller rivals, in a two-year probe into how meatpackers allegedly paid off inspectors to overlook practices including processing rotten meat, shipping exports with traces of salmonella and simply not carrying out inspections of plants.
The companies have denied any wrongdoing and authorities have said that no cases of death or illness have been linked to the tainted meat investigation. (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Dominic Evans and Vin Shahrestani)