The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA FSIS) has announced that previously banned beef products from Brazil will now be approved for export to the U.S.
Upon completion of an audit of Brazil’s inspection system for beef slaughter and further processing, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service determined that raw intact beef from Brazil is eligible for export to the U.S. from cattle slaughtered on and after February 21, 2020, the date that the Department lifted the suspension. However, raw intact beef products derived from cattle slaughtered in Brazil and certified as slaughtered before February 21, 2020, are not eligible for entry into the United States.
In early 2017, Brazil’s meat safety practices came under fire when inspectors were accused of taking bribes to allow the sale of expired, Salmonella-tainted meat. At the time, reports indicated that police found meat that had been treated with water and manioc flour in an effort to disguise the spoiled meat’s discoloration and foul odor. As a result, Brazil’s meat products were temporarily banned in Chile, the EU, and South Korea. Initially, beef imports from Brazil were still allowed into the U.S. because it was believed at the time that food safety checks and balances were strong enough to weed out and detect any problems like contamination.
Two months later, in June 2017, USDA suspended imports of all raw intact beef from Brazil due to “recurring concerns about safety of the products intended for the American market,” Specific concerns were centered around “public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues.”
Nearly 2 years passed before the U.S. announced plans to audit Brazil’s beef and pork inspections. The audit was meant to verify that Brazil’s products meet American sanitation requirements.
Brazil is one of the world’s largest exporters of beef. In August 2016, the U.S. finally began allowing beef imports from Brazil after a 13-year ban due to multiple complications with foreign beef producers.