Spokesman: China has suspended import of Brazil beef

A spokesman for China's commerce ministry says the country has suspended imports of Brazilian beef, the first official confirmation of a Chinese ban.

Brazil's agriculture minister said earlier that China suspended imports but until now Chinese officials have said only their government took unspecified precautions.

Speaking on Thursday at a regular news briefing, the ministry spokesman, Sun Jiwen, said, "The responsible departments of the Chinese government have taken timely and temporary measures to suspend the import of beef from Brazil."

Brazilian investigators say health inspectors were bribed to overlook expired meats and chemicals. They say other products were added to meat to improve its appearance and smell.

Other governments including the European Union, Japan and Mexico have limited or banned imports of Brazilian meat.