Monday, June 26, 2017
Brazil trying to reverse beef ban
Washington--Brazil is trying to reverse the American ban of beef imports from Brazil.
Brazil's Agriculture minister Blairo Maggi posted social media comments on his emergency trip to the US this week and the ban late last week, just hours after U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the immediate suspension of all Brazilian fresh beef imports because of safety concerns.
The U.S. statement said the suspension ban will stay in place until Brail takes corrective action to get its meat packing plants under control and up to US inspection standards.
Maggi said Brazil will fight to get the U.S. market and he'll personally head a mission to the US to negotiate resumption of Brazilian beef exports.
Perdue's decision was announced after serious scandals and allegations of bribed meat inspectors stunned Brazil's beef industry and resulted in several countries stopping imports.
The Secretary of Agriculture says that since March, US inspectors stopped entry to more than 11 percent of Brazilian fresh beef products or about 1.9 million pounds. "That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of one percent of shipments from the rest of the world," the statement said.
The statement noted that Brazil had already addressed concerns of American inspectors by prohibiting five facilities from shipping beef to the US, but said that didn't go far enough.
Maggi attributed the USDA's safety concerns to the lumps some steers develop as a result of an allergic reaction to the vaccine against foot-and-mouth disease. He said the lumps did not represent a public health hazard.
"We must resolve this matter as quickly as possible because cattle breeding in Brazil is going through a very difficult moment with low market prices," Maggi said.
The Brazilian Beef Exporters Association said in a statement that the export suspension and the "adjustments to the production processes" are already underway and will be presented to the Agriculture Ministry's mission that will go to the United States.
In March, Brazilian authorities said they were investigating inspectors who allegedly allowed expired meats enter the market for bribes.
Brazil was the world's largest producer of beef and veal in 2016 and one of the top exporters, according to U.S. Agriculture Department. The country is also a major exporter of chicken and pork products.
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