US Suspends Beef Imports From Brazil

The United States announced on Thursday a halt to all imports of fresh beef from Brazil, the world's second-largest producer, citing "recurring" concerns after large shipments failed food safety tests.

USDA said in a news release, "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".

"It is important to note that none of the rejected lots made it into the U.S. market", the Department of Agriculture said, noting that the "Brazilian government had pledged to address those concerns, including by self-suspending five facilities from shipping beef to the USA".

"That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of one percent of shipments from the rest of the world", the agency said. It totals out to 1.9 million lb. of beef from 106 lots that were rejected because of public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues.

Federal police carried out raids in 194 locations, deploying more than 1,000 officers.

Results of stepped up inspections of Brazilian meat products provided evidence for the secretary to change his position. After the St. Patrick's Day raids, Brazilian President Michel Temer tried to reassure global trading partners by pointing to the fact that just 21 of the country's 4,837 meatpacking facilities were swept up in the probe.

"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. JBS SA, the top producer, declined to comment while Minerva SA, which ranks third, and Brazil's Agriculture Ministry didn't immediately comment on the matter.

About 20 countries - including Hong Kong and China, the biggest importers of Brazilian beef - as well as the European Union, fully or partially closed their doors to the country's meat imports. China reversed that decision.

Earlier this week, Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture delisted 5 meatpacking plants from the list of companies exporting to the American market.

It is also sure to put added pressure on President Michel Temer, who is facing several allegations of corruption and has been battered with calls to resign.

Camardelli said producers had asked the Brazilian government to resolve the problem in a meeting with their U.S. counterparts. Heidi Heinkamp, D-ND, and Sen. Perdue, I am committed to keeping it that way. The subsidiary had a beef production capacity of 29,000 daily in the states and 4,000 in Canada.

  • Zachary Reyes