On May 6, 2021, in a securities filing, BRF SA, a global food processing and distribution company based in Brazil, disclosed that the US Department of Justice had ended its investigation into the company without imposing any sanctions or penalties. According to the Form 6-K, BRF had been “collaborating” with Brazilian and other enforcement authorities on investigations related to the Carne Fraca (weak flesh) investigation. The DOJ informed the company in a May 5, 2021 declination letter that the DOJ’s investigation was closed. This decision was made roughly three months after BRF announced in a February 2021 securities filing that the US Securities and Exchange Commission had concluded its investigation into the company without any enforcement action.
The investigation by Brazilian enforcement authorities was first made public in March 2017 following the issuance of a court order permitting the search and seizure of documents from BRF as part of the Brazilian government’s investigation of whether BRF and/or other companies bribed Brazilian government inspectors so that the companies could sell expired or tainted meat. The Carne Fraca investigation ultimately resulted in the firing and prosecution of dozens of sanitary inspectors in Brazil as well as the suspension of export licenses for and the closure of several meat packing plants in Brazil. In April 2017, a few weeks after the Brazilian investigation was made public, BRF announced that the DOJ and the SEC had launched their own investigations into the matter.