US suspends all fresh beef imports from Brazil over safety worries

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 June, 2017, 7:48am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 June, 2017, 7:51am

The US suspended all fresh beef imports from Brazil, the world’s second-largest producer, citing “recurring” food safety concerns.

The ban will remain in place until satisfactory corrective actions are taken, the US Department of Agriculture said on Thursday in a statement. The US is the world’s top beef producer while Brazil is one of the world’s biggest beef and chicken exporters.

All supplies from Brazil have been inspected since March, when some of the country’s top meat producers became embroiled in a tainted-meat scandal.

During that time, the Usda’s Food Safety and Inspection Service refused entry to 11 per cent of Brazilian fresh beef imports, compared with 1 per cent of shipments from other nations, the Usda said. The total amount rejected was about 1.9 million pounds.

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“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,” US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in the statement. “That’s what we’ve done by halting the import of Brazilian fresh beef.”

On Wednesday, Brazil suspended five meatpacking plants from exporting to the US, including from Marfrig Global Foods SA, JBS SA and Minerva SA. The new action by the Usda supersedes those restrictions, the agency said.