Brazilians were shocked this Friday (March 17) when news were released about a new operation of the Federal Police. This time it was not another raid into offices of Odebrecht or other firms involved in the colossal graft scheme around Petrobras. This time the targets were companies and officials who dealt with something closer to their sensibility as citizens and consumers: food safety.
Amont accusations being investigated against big meatpacking firms such as the two giants JBS and BRF are that their employees systematically falsified sanitary permits and bribed food inspectors to ignore expiration or adulteration of procesed foods, opening way to rotten or contaminated meat to be served in public schools and exported to Europe.
Once again, corruption schemes show connection with politics, bribes having being channeled to PMDB, according to the authorities. Rafael Cortez, a political scientist at Tendências, a consultancy in São Paulo, heard by The New York Times’ Simon Romero called the meatpacking inquiry “one more element that will add to the picture of political instability.” Brazil’s political establishment was already reeling from an array of other graft cases.
PMDB says that there were no such involvments between its members and the meatpackers, but Brasilia’s Diario do Poder informed on Saturday (18) that JBS made a donation of around $80,000 to the electoral campaign of House Representative and current minister of Justice Osmar Serraglio, from the state of Parana The amount represents the largest single donation for Serraglio’s campaign. His name appeared in a wiretapping of a suspicious dialogue with a food inspector and representative of the Ministry of Agriculture in Paraná state between 2007 and 2016.