USDA Halting Import of Fresh Brazilian Beef

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday evening announced that it would halt imports of fresh Brazilian beef. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a statement said: " Ensuring the safety of our nations food supply is one of our critical missions, and its one we undertake with great seriousness. Although international trade is an important part of what we do at USDA, and Brazil has long been one of our partners, my first priority is to protect American consumers. That's what we've done by halting the import of Brazilian fresh beef. I commend the work of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families."

The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which USDA finds satisfactory. Since March, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has been inspecting 100 percent of all meat products arriving in the United States from Brazil. FSIS has refused entry to 11 percent of Brazilian fresh beef products, which is 106 lots (approximately 1.9 million pounds) of Brazilian beef products due to public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues. It is important to note that none of the rejected lots made it into the U.S. market.That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of one percent of shipments from the rest of the world.

The Brazilian government had pledged to address those concerns, including by self-suspending five facilities from shipping beef to the United States. The action to suspend all fresh beef shipments from Brazil supersedes the self-suspension.

Statement from National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Craig Uden:
NCBA supports the action taken by Secretary Perdue to suspend fresh beef imports from Brazil. This action is the result of USDA's strong, science-based testing protocol of imported beef and this proves that our food safety system works effectively. NCBA supports USDA's commitment to science-based trade and its commitment to keeping our food supply as safe as possible.

Statement from National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson:
"We've long had concerns about the importation of fresh beef from Brazil. Since the 2015 repeal of Country-Of-Origin Labeling (COOL), food safety scandals can undermine consumer confidence in the entire beef industry, harming American producers bottom line. This incident underscores the importance of COOL to protect American beef producers and consumers alike."

"We applaud the USDAs decision to suspend the importation of fresh Brazilian beef, and we urge them to avoid similar circumstances in the future by following more rigorous importation standards. "

Photo: AgView.net

Story source: USDA release & NAFB News Service

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