The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that fresh beef imports from Brazil have been suspended due to food safety and animal health concerns.
Shipments will be suspended until the USDA is satisfied that the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture has taken the appropriate corrective actions. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has been inspecting all the meat products coming from Brazil into the United States since March and have refused the entry to nearly 1.9 million pounds of Brazilian beef products.
Since the increased inspection began, 11% of Brazilian fresh beef imports were not allowed to enter the country. That represents a substantially higher rejection rate than just one percent of all the shipments received from the rest of the world.
The suspension coincides with a recent raid by government authorities on Brazil’s largest food-processing companies JBS and BRF. The companies are accused of allowing rotten meat to be distributed throughout Brazil, as well as exported to Europe.
The USDA also notes that none of the rejected beef made it into the U.S. market.
In a USDA press release 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.”