Brasília – Brazil’s president held crisis talks Sunday with ministers and foreign ambassadors to try and limit the damage to trade from allegations that major Brazilian producers have been selling rotten meat worldwide.

Police allegations that meat producers bribed health inspectors for years to certify tainted food as fit for consumption has struck at the heart of the world’s leading beef and chicken exporter.

Temer — whose government is already battered by a huge embezzlement scandal and Brazil’s deepest recession in history — huddled first with meatpacking representatives, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi and Trade Minister Marcos Pereira.

As international concern grew, the embattled president was to meet next with ambassadors from major importers, Temer’s office said.

About 150 countries buy meat from Brazil, with principal markets as widespread as Saudi Arabia, China, Singapore, Japan, Russia, the Netherlands and Italy.Brazil exported about $5.9 billion in poultry and $4.3 billion in beef in 2016, according to Brazilian government data.

© AFP MAURICIO LIMA Brazil sells meat and poultry to at least 150 countries, so the rotten meat scandal is deeply concerning to national authorities

© AFP MAURICIO LIMA – Brazil sells meat and poultry to at least 150 countries, so the rotten meat scandal is deeply concerning to national authorities