" --IANS"
Brasilia, April 17 - Brazil's Federal Police has charged 63 persons for taking part in a corruption scheme that sold expired or adulterated meat, a media report said on Monday.

The scandal led at least 25 countries to temporarily suspend imports of Brazilian meat, Xinhua news agency reported.

Among the charges are falsifying medical records and certificates, tampering with food products, conspiracy and corruption.

In March, the police launched a wide-ranging investigation, dubbed Operation Weak Flesh, against illegal practices at meatpacking plants.

The operation dismantled groups that allegedly bribed inspectors to overlook altered expiry dates, water-injected meat as well as other unsanitary practices.

A total of 21 meatpacking plants were involved in the scheme, including multinationals BRF and JBS, two of the world's largest meat producers and exporters.

Brazil is the world's largest exporter of beef and poultry, and the fourth largest exporter of pork.

The scandal is estimated to cost Brazil's export market some $1.5 billion in lost annual revenue.

--IANS

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