USDA Halts Imports of Fresh Brazilian Beef

Paterniano Del Favero
Giugno 24, 2017

CBS Local- The United States has banned all beef imports from Brazil, the Department of Agriculture announced Thursday.

USA food safety regulators have put a stop to fresh beef imports from Brazil, following earlier reports that meatpackers in the country - one of the world's largest beef exporters - had allowed rotten, salmonella-tainted meat to be shipped overseas. Maggi said corrective measures were already being made, and the government was maintaining its target of raising exports to 10 percent of Brazilian beef production in five years, from 7 percent now.

Since then, the USDA has been inspecting all meat products arriving from Brazil, refusing entry to 11% fresh beef products. Approximately 11 percent of those imports were rejected, which equates to 106 lots, or 1.9 million pounds of Brazilian beef products. It said that figure is "substantially higher" than the rejection rate from the rest of the world, which is around 1%.

Still, the US did say it would step up its inspection of Brazilian beef, but that did little to address the meat that had already been shipped to retailers' shelves. China reversed that decision.

In March, Brazilian authorities said they were investigating inspectors who allegedly allowed expired meats enter the market in exchange for bribes.

"The potential harm to US cattle producers and the USA food supply caused by any food safety violations, as reported, warrant a critical review by USDA into the Brazil system and standards", McDonnell said.

Some federal lawmakers in the USA began calling for an embargo against Brazilian beef in late March, including Sen. That's what we've done by halting the import of Brazilian fresh beef.

JBS, the world's largest meat packer, declined to comment on the USA ban.

The bans imposed in the days that followed the scandal were lifted after the Brazilian government closed the meatpacking plants involved and promised to take further action.

Shortcomings related to enforcement and certification requirements were described as "serious" in a number of processing sites, while weaknesses discovered in previous audits were found to be "unaddressed", a report said. "This stains the entire system that Brazil has spent years building". Temer, who has strenuously denied any wrongdoing, is now on a trip to Russian Federation and Norway aimed in part at expanding Brazilian markets, including meat exports.

Some of the rejected shipments reportedly included meat with blood clots and lymph nodes, which are unhealthy to eat.

The decision was taken three months after a big scandal into the allegations of bribing meat inspectors hit the meat industry in Brazil and prompted various nations to halt imports temporarily.

"Once again the industry is inheriting a problem that it has not created", says Antonio Camardelli, president of the board of the Brazilian Association of Meat Exporters.

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