>> Brazil's lucrative beef industry dealt another bruising blow Tuesday as key trading partners halted imports of potentially rotten meat. The growing international alarm over Brazilian beef comes after raids at some of Brazil's biggest meatpacking companies. Police accused the firms of bribing health inspectors and politicians for years to get government certificates on potentially tainted beef and poultry.
Reuters editor Christian Plumb.>> These inspectors were actively soliciting bribes from some of the largest meat processing companies, including JBS, which is one of the worlds largest beef producers, and BRF, the world's largest poultry exporter. They were soliciting bribes from these companies in return for favors, like not speeding up inspections on certain things, or overlooking potential violations.
>> Tuesday, Hong Kong, the second biggest buyer of all Brazilian meat last year, banned all meat imports from the country. On Monday, China, the biggest export market for Brazil's meat, announced a temporary ban. Chile followed suit. The European Union also halted imports from four Brazilian meat processors involved in the scandal.
South Korea, Tuesday, reversing it's decision to ban poultry imports, saying it would rely on stepped-up inspections. Brazil's meat industry, one of the few thriving sectors in an economy suffering through a two year recession.>> This is one of their kinda national champions in terms of industries, one of the few world-beating export industries that Brazil has, and just, suddenly, their reputation is in tatters.
>> Brazil's president went into damage control Saturday, hosting ambassadors at a steakhouse. All of the companies have strongly denied any wrongdoing. Authorities have emphasized that no cases of illness have been linked to the investigation.