RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO, March 17 Brazil's
Federal Police on Friday launched massive raids and searches as
part of a probe of unnamed food processors accused of bribing
regulators to loosen oversight.
In a statement, police said they were carrying out searches
across six Brazilian states as part of a probe called "Operation
Flesh Is Weak." More than 1,100 officers were deployed for 194
raids and as many as 38 detention orders.
The size and extent of Operation Flesh Is Weak, the latest
in a series of high-profile investigations of corruption in
Latin America's largest economy, makes it "the Federal Police's
largest ever search-and-raid operation ever," the statement
Police said watchdogs in the food-producing states of
Paraná, Minas Gerais and Goiás openly helped producers place
adulterated products in the marketplace. Food processors would
also bribe state food safety auditors to issue fake sanitary
permits and forgo normal oversight work.
Local broadcaster TV Globo said companies involved included
BRF SA, the world's largest poultry exporter, and JBS
SA, the world's No. 1 meatpacker.
TV Globo said at least one JBS executive had been detained.
JBS's media office said it was unaware of any detention and
denied that police raided the company's São Paulo-based
BRF, also based in São Paulo, did not have an immediate
(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca and Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing
by Lisa Von Ahn)