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Effective Feb. 21, the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has lifted a suspension on imports of raw intact beef products from Brazil. However, such products will be subject to re-inspection at U.S. points of entry by FSIS import inspectors, as is required with meat, poultry, and processed egg products from other countries.
FSIS is taking this step after a targeted, on-site audit confirmed that Brazil has implemented corrective actions in response to several audits and technical discussions that have taken place since the suspension was imposed in June 2017. As a result, FSIS has determined that Brazil’s food safety inspection system governing the production of raw intact beef is equivalent to that of the U.S.
However, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association registered concern about the FSIS decision. “Given Brazil’s history of foot-and-mouth disease and its track record of repeated food safety violations at ports of entry … we expect nothing less than the highest level of scrutiny from USDA and customs officials,” said Kent Bacus, NCBA senior director for international trade and market access. “Should Brazil continue to have food safety or animal health issues, we expect the U.S. government, including Capitol Hill, to take all necessary and immediate action to protect U.S. consumers and U.S. beef producers.”