Brazilian government orders meat recall

An employee sells meat during an inspection by Rio de Janeiro state's consumer protection agency, PROCON, at a supermarket in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on March 24, 2017

Brazil's consumer protection agency Senacom ordered recalls Friday of meat from three meatpacking companies involved in a tainted produce scandal that has hit the Latin American giant hard.

Three plants run by Souza Ramos, Transmeat and Peccin meatpackers in the southern state of Parana must begin recalling products "within five days," the agency said in a statement.

The recall reflects the agriculture ministry's concern that there are possible health risks from Peccin's meat, and a lack of control and traceability for products from Souza Ramos and Transmeat, according to Senacom.

The three companies are among 21 being investigated in operation "Weak Flesh," which alleges that additives were used to mask bad meat and that inspectors were bribed to give false certificates of health.

The Brazilian crackdown is part of efforts to mitigate fallout from the scandal.

Brazil's huge meat industry has been badly damaged, with major markets including China and Hong Kong stopping all imports and the European Union banning the 21 companies under suspicion.

President Michel Temer insisted Friday that "Brazilian meat is the best in the world."