In 1997, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) halted all imports of beef from Paraguay due to the country’s failure to implement food safety requirements that were equivalent to those set forth in the FSIS final rule “Pathogen Reduction; Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems.” Since 1997, FSIS has held technical discussions with Paraguayan officials and conducted audits to determine whether Paraguay’s food safety inspection system for meat is equivalent to the inspection system in the U.S.
Specifically in 2021 and 2022, FSIS reviewed Paraguay’s documented food safety inspection program for raw intact beef, and conducted onsite verification audits of its beef slaughter and raw further processing. FSIS concluded that Paraguay’s food safety inspection system for raw beef products is equivalent to that of the U.S. The audit reports can be viewed on USDA’s website.
Although Paraguay may be listed on the FSIS website as eligible to export raw intact beef products to the U.S., Paraguay must also comply with all other applicable requirements, including those of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), before any products can enter the U.S.
APHIS has announced the publication of a proposed rule that would allow the importation of fresh beef from Paraguay. APHIS determined that FSIS can safely allow import of fresh beef from Paraguay under certain conditions, including that foot and mouth disease (FMD) has not been diagnosed in the exporting region in the past 12 months, the meat comes from premises where FMD has not been present during the lifetime of any of the animals, and that the animals were inspected before and after slaughter, among others. APHIS will address all comments received and issue a final rule with the ultimate decision on importation of fresh beef from Paraguay. Paraguay cannot export these products to the U.S. until APHIS finalizes this rule.