Due to the reinstatement of equivalence to Paraguay and the resolution of a zoonotic disease outbreak, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA’s APHIS) has announced a final rule to allow the import of fresh beef from the country under certain conditions. The final rule will enable raw intact beef products produced from cattle slaughtered in certified Paraguayan establishments on or after the final rule’s effective date of December 14, 2023 to be eligible for export to the U.S.
On March 24, 2023, FSIS granted a reinstatement of equivalence to Paraguay for its food safety inspection system for raw intact beef products, based on the assessment of the country’s documentation and in-country verification audits that were conducted from November 1–17, 2021 and July 11–22, 2022. However, Paraguay, at the time, had been ineligible to export raw beef products to the U.S. due to animal health restrictions imposed by APHIS related to foot-and-mouth disease.
Equivalence is the process of determining whether a country’s food safety inspection system achieves USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS’) appropriate level of protection for public health as applied domestically in the U.S. To achieve equivalence, a country’s food safety inspection system must provide standards equivalent to FSIS’ to ensure both food safety and non-food safety requirements are met, such as humane handling, accurate labeling, and assurance that meat, poultry, or egg products are not economically adulterated.
FSIS will update the Import and Export Library page on the FSIS website to reflect the change in Paraguay’s eligibility once the final rule is in effect.