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Meat Imports from Lithuania Would be Allowed Under USDA Proposal

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is proposing to add Lithuania to the list of countries eligible to export meat and meat products to the United States. Under this proposal meat from cattle, sheep, swine and goats slaughtered in Lithuania, or parts or other products thereof, and processed in certified Lithuanian establishments would be eligible for export to the U.S. Lithuania has stated that if this approval is granted it intends to immediately export canned, dried or smoked meat products of beef and pork to the U.S. Comments on this proposal are due no later than Feb. 17, 2015.

If this rule is finalized, all covered products would be subject to reinspection at U.S. ports of entry by FSIS inspectors for transportation damage, product and container defects, labeling, proper certification, general condition and accurate count. FSIS would also conduct other types of reinspection activities such as incubation of canned products to ensure product safety and taking product samples for laboratory analysis for the detection of drug and chemical residues, pathogens, species and product composition. Products that pass reinspection would be stamped with the official USDA mark of inspection and allowed to enter U.S. commerce. Those that do not meet U.S. requirements would be refused entry and required to be returned to the country of origin, destroyed or converted to animal food within 45 days.

Lithuania first requested approval to export meat, poultry and egg products to the U.S. in 2004 and narrowed that request to meat and meat products in January 2012. FSIS states that its review of Lithuania’s laws, regulations and inspection implementation show that its meat inspection system requirements are equivalent to the Federal Meat Inspection Act and its implementing regulations. If this rule becomes final, the government of Lithuania will have to certify that those establishments that wish to export meat or meat products to the U.S. are operating in accordance with requirements equivalent to those of the U.S. FSIS will verify that this is so through periodic, regularly scheduled audits of Lithuania’s meat inspection system.

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