The multi-species South American meat processor told this site it is cooperating with the country’s federal police, which opened two separate investigations into alleged corruption inside the Ministry of Agriculture on 16 May.
According to Reuters news reports, Minerva is one of the companies targeted in the investigation. In a statement sent to GlobalMeatNews, a company representative said: “Regarding the operation of the Brazilian federal police named Lucas, Minerva Foods states it is collaborating with the authorities for the investigation involving [the] Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture.
“The company reinforces that it follows strict corporate governance rules and it complies [with] all the applicable legislation in its operations, ensuring a strict standard of quality and security.”
The announcement of Brazil’s two new police probes come with the country still reeling from the ‘Weak Flesh’ meat scandal that hit global headlines in March.
The two separate investigations both claim to be probing “corruption” inside Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAP).
Minerva’s statement referred to the police investigation dubbed ‘Operation Lucas’.
This is looking into an alleged scheme to move around R$3m ($968,000) in government bribes over six years between 2010 and 2016.
Investigators claim MAP staff received monthly bribes from agribusiness firms to either delay or cancel fines – a crime carrying a maximum 12-year prison sentence.
Police dubbed the investigation ‘Operation Lucas’ in reference to a passage in the Bible’s Gospel of Luke, which reads: “Do not treat anyone badly or defraud”.
The meatpacker was founded in 1992 and now exports beef, pork and poultry to over 100 countries. It operates 17 slaughterhouses and deboning plants across Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay. It also claims to be able to slaughter over 17,000 head of cattle per day.