Background

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has announced that as of March 18 it has instituted additional pathogen testing of all shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat products from Brazil as well as 100 percent reinspection of such products at U.S. ports of entry. These measures will remain in place indefinitely.

The U.S. and Brazil only recently resumed bilateral trade in fresh beef for the first time in more than a decade after resolving concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease). As part of that process FSIS determined that Brazil’s food safety system governing meat products remained equivalent to that of the U.S. However, following reports that Brazilian meat producers bribed health inspectors to overlook the sale of spoiled meat, several countries have banned imports of Brazilian meat and at least two U.S. senators have asked the USDA to do the same pending a fuller investigation.

FSIS states that while none of the slaughter or processing facilities implicated in the Brazilian scandal have shipped meat products to the U.S. it will take immediate action to refuse entry of product into the U.S. if there are findings of food safety concern.

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