March 2, 2020
US beef producers oppose re-entry of Brazilian beef over safety concerns
US beef producers have expressed "serious concerns" about the re-entry of Brazilian beef to the US market. The US Department of Agriculture made the decision to allow Brazilian beef imports on Feb. 21.
In airing its concerns, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) recalled the "numerous food safety violations" after Brazil's was granted initial access to the US market in 2016.
"…[W]e were not surprised when Brazil forfeited its beef access to the US in 2017 due to numerous food safety violations", Kent Bacus, NCBA senior director, international trade and market access, said in a statement.
"Given Brazil's history of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and its track record of repeated food safety violations at ports-of-entry, you can rest assured that NCBA will keep an eagle eye focus on all developments with Brazil and we expect nothing less than the highest level of scrutiny from USDA and customs officials", Bacus added.
Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA, also believes Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue had hastily allowed fresh beef from Brazil by claiming Brazil meets US safety standards.
He also feared that imported beef could be sold to American consumers with USDA safety inspection sticker that could lead consumers to erroneously believe all the beef available in the grocery store is US beef.
Bacus echoed Bullard, saying, "The re-entry of Brazilian beef to the US market only further exacerbates concerns about the use of 'Product of USA' labels on beef sold in the United States. As the trusted leader and definitive voice of the US beef industry, NCBA will continue…to address any labels that may allow imported beef to carry a 'Product of USA' label".
In 2017 Brazilian meat caused an international scare after police claimed that health inspectors had been bribed to certify meat no longer fit for consumption.
Exports were stopped from 21 meat processors under investigation, and at least 30 people were arrested.
China, Hong Kong, the EU, Japan, Mexico, Chile and Egypt, among others, at the time imposed either a total or partial ban on Brazilian meat.