JBS is to appeal a decision by Brazilian authorities to fine one of its subsidiaries as part of Operation Carne Fraca.

The Controladoria-Geral da União (CGU) verdict relating to Seara Alimentos was officially published this month. JBS said it will appeal the decision.

JBS S.A. is the Brazilian-based parent company of JBS USA, which built its North American units around the acquisition of Swith and Company.

JBS said those responsible for the Carne Fraca (Weak Flesh) investigation did not raise any suspicions about the quality or security of Seara’s or JBS’ products and brands.

Seara Alimentos was fined more than Brazilian Real $14.8 million (U.S. $2.8 million) and told to publish information about the decision in a physical location and on its website.

In March 2017, Brazilian police announced the results of Operation Carne Fraca, which began in 2015 and highlighted cases of fraud and corruption in about 20 beef and poultry processing plants in the country. Major changes were made by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food (MAPA) as a result of the incident.

CGU findings and JBS response
An investigation as part of Carne Fraca showed that Seara Alimentos had a way to pay “undue benefits” to agents from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food (MAPA) in the State of Paraná. This affected inspection activities and the issuing of national and international sanitary certificates facilitating the shipment of food products to China and Chile said the CGU.

“It is important to make it clear that those responsible for the Carne Fraca Operation, which began in 2017, did not mention or raise any suspicions about quality or security from Seara’s or JBS products and brands. This can be easily verified in the Federal Court order that authorized the police Carne Fraca operation investigations focused on administrative questions on the Ministry of Agriculture inspection system,” said a JBS statement.

Sanctioned companies normally have 30 days to pay any fines. However, since an appeal has been filed the deadline to comply starts from when a decision on it is made if it is unsuccessful.

At the end of December 2022, BRF S.A. signed a leniency agreement in Brazil related to Operation Carne Fraca and Operation Trapaça (Cheating). 

The company agreed to pay more than Brazilian Real $580 million ($110.4 million). As part of this, authorities ended proceedings targeting the business and will not file related lawsuits against the company.

BRF also promised to adopt preventive measures to ensure such practices would not happen again and to improve its integrity program.

Operation Trapaça results, published in 2018, focused on lab tests for Salmonella that had been falsified to avoid controls by authorities.

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