U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the suspension of all imports of fresh beef from Brazil because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market.
Since March, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been inspecting 100% of all meat products arriving in the U.S. from Brazil. FSIS has refused entry to 11% of Brazilian fresh beef products. Since implementation of the increased inspection, FSIS has refused entry to approximately 1.9 million lbs. 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.
Perdue said, “Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is one of our critical missions, and it’s 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 announcement came on the heels of a scandal in which Brazil’s JBS and BRF were raided by government authorities for allowing rotten meat to be distributed in Brazil and exported to Europe. National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson, said, “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. We applaud the USDA’s decision and we urge them to avoid similar circumstances in the future by following more rigorous importation standards.”