US suspends imports of Brazilian beef

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

Many countries had initially banned imports of Brazilian beef, only to reinstate trade
Many countries had initially banned imports of Brazilian beef, only to reinstate trade

Related tags: Brazilian beef, Brazil

The US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has suspended all imports of fresh beef from Brazil due to safety concerns.

This comes after an investigation was launched in Brazil in March over allegations of corruption and the sale of sub-standard meat​.

The revelations of the investigation had led to many countries initially banning Brazilian beef imports​. However, since March the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been inspecting all meat products arriving from Brazil. There had also been a petition set up by the Ranchers-Cattlemen Legal Action Fund calling for the ban of Brazilian beef.

Since March, FSIS has refused entry to 11% of Brazilian fresh beef products which is "substantially higher​" than the rejection rate of 1% of shipments from the rest of the world. 

This 11% amounts to 106 lots (approximately 1.9 million lbs) of Brazilian beef products due to public health concerns, sanitary conditions and animal health issues.

None of the rejected lots made it into the US market.

The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action, which the USDA finds satisfactory.

The Brazilian government had previously pledged to address USDA concerns, including self-suspending five facilities from shipping beef to the US.  However, the action to suspend all fresh beef shipments from Brazil supersedes the self-suspension.

In a statement, Perdue said:“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.​”

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