US Upholds Ban on Brazilian Beef Imports

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • June 22, 2017, the U.S. suspended imports of fresh beef from Brazil, the fifth largest beef exporter to the U.S. In October 2019, the U.S. informed Brazil it will continue to maintain the ban
  • The USDA began inspecting 100% of Brazilian meat imports in March 2017. Among the problems discovered were abscesses in the meat, which Brazilian deputy agriculture minister Eumar Novacki attributed to rare adverse reactions to vaccines that prevent foot-and-mouth disease
  • According to Novacki, the reactions pose no risk to public health, but their presence still highlighted widespread quality control problems. It’s a commonly used vaccine around the world, and other beef imports do not have these abscesses. The slaughter plant also should have caught and removed them before export
  • The USDA allows multinational meatpackers to label imported beef as “Product of USA” as long as it has undergone processing in the U.S., even if minimal. This misrepresentation has significant ramifications for American farmers, who have to compete with lower-priced imports
  • Contamination with pathogens and drugs is another widespread problem plaguing the conventional meat industry. Contaminants are also found in nonorganic collagen products, which makes sense since they’re a byproduct of the meat industry

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