U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has 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. The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which the USDA finds satisfactory.
Since March, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) 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. That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of one percent of shipments from the rest of the world. Since implementation of the increased inspection, FSIS has refused entry to 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.
The Brazilian government had pledged to address those concerns, including by self-suspending five facilities from shipping beef to the United States. The recent action to suspend all fresh beef shipments from Brazil supersedes the self-suspension.
Secretary Perdue issued the following statement: “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.”