SD Stockgrowers concerned Brazil beef imports will endanger U.S. producers

Farm Forum

The United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) announced recently that they have approved the import of fresh and frozen beef from parts of Brazil. Certain states in Brazil have been deemed to be free of Foot and Mouth Disease and are working to comply with necessary U.S. export standards.

“It is extremely disturbing to think that the USDA is allowing beef from Brazil – a country that has continued to have problems meeting our health and safety standards, and has a known problem containing Foot and Mouth Disease within their borders,” said Stockgrowers President Bill Kluck. “We just can’t understand why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to import beef from a country that hasn’t proven it can keep U.S. livestock producers or our customers safe.”

From January 2015 to June 2016, Brazil was among the top five worst countries for rejected meat and poultry products. According to D.C. based Food and Water Watch, over 2.7 million pounds of Brazilian meat and poultry products were turned away by FSIS border inspectors for serious food safety violations.

“Bringing fresh and frozen beef from Brazil poses a serious disease risk to our cattle herd which could be economically devastating to our ranches and to the customers at the grocery store.”

SD Stockgrowers Vice-President Gary Deering added, “This is exactly why we fought so hard for Country of Origin Labeling. As ranchers, we’ve worked hard to build up a strong reputation for safe and affordable U.S. beef. I just can’t understand how USDA FSIS thinks that importing beef from Brazil makes any sense or provides any benefit to the United States’ producers or consumers.”

According to USDA FSIS, they anticipate annual imports of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Brazil to range between 20,000 and 65,000 metric tons (MT), with annual volumes averaging 40,000 MT.