WASHINGTON, March 22, 2017 – USDA today announced that it is adding stricter controls on imports of Brazilian beef in the wake of a food safety scandal in the South American country.
Brazil’s federal police have recently made arrests amid allegations that that meatpackers have been bribing food safety inspectors to allow tainted product to be sold and exported.
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said no beef from production facilities involved in the investigation has been exported beef to the U.S., but the agency also said it was increasing scrutiny of Brazilian beef.
“FSIS immediately instituted additional pathogen testing of all shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat products from Brazil upon hearing reports of the Brazilian investigation,” the agency said. “FSIS has also increased its examination of all these products at ports-of-entry across the country.”
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., introduced legislation Tuesday, calling for a 120-day ban on Brazilian beef while the investigation is conducted in Brazil and to make sure that no tainted product can enter commerce in the U.S.
Mike Young, USDA's acting deputy secretary, stopped short of imposing a ban while stressing that the department is giving beef from Brazil extra scrutiny..
"Keeping food safe for American families is our top priority,” Young said in a statement. “FSIS has strengthened the existing safeguards that protect the American food supply as a precaution and is monitoring the Brazilian government's investigation closely.”
Other countries were not so lenient. China and Chile are among nations that have already banned Brazilian beef, according to press reports
Brazilian Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi is addressing the growing international concerns over the safety of the country’s beef by reaching out to the press.The minister is scheduled to hold an international conference call with reporters Thursday to discuss “Brazil’s inspection system for the meatpacking industry and recent measures implemented by the Federal Government.”