US announces immediate suspension of beef imports from Brazil
The Dollar Business Bureau
The US announced on Thursday the suspension of all beef product imports with immediate effect, from Brazil- the largest beef producing Latin American country- due to safety reasons.
The decision was taken three months after a big scandal into the allegations of bribing meat inspectors hit the meat industry in Brazil and prompted various nations to halt imports temporarily.
Since March this year, US inspectors have declined entry to 11% of fresh beef products from Brazil, around 1.9 million pounds, said US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a statement to the media.
“That figure is considerably higher as compared to the rejection rate of 1% of imports from other countries of the world,” he said.
The suspension will continue to be in place until Brazilian agriculture ministry takes remedial action. However, the statement did not divulge details on what actions should be taken.
The concerns of US inspectors had already been addressed by Brazil by barring five facilities from exporting beef to America, but it did not go far enough, the statement noted.
“Today's action to suspend all fresh beef shipments from Brazil supersedes the self-suspension,” it said.
Earlier in March this year, Brazilian officials had said that they were investigating the matter of inspectors who allegedly permitted the expired meat to enter into the market after taking bribes.
Several nations, including key importer China, have temporarily suspended import of meat from Brazil. However, after assurances given by Brazilian authorities, most of the countries again started purchasing within a few weeks.
Still, the issue had a huge financial impact on Brazil at a time when the country, the biggest economy in Latin America, is struggling to cope from its worst ever recession. For many weeks, the usual daily exports of millions of dollars slowed down to just $100,000, as revealed by the Brazilian authorities.
Brazil was the biggest producer of beef in the world in 2016 and one of the major exporters, as per the U.S. Agriculture Department. Brazil is also the top exporter of pork and chicken products.