U.S. beef has been absent from the Brazilian market for 13 years, but this could change soon. Cheyenne McEndaffer, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) technical services manager, explained that U.S. beef has not been accepted by Brazil since the December 2003 finding of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
McEndaffer said not only has U.S. beef been “shut out of the Brazilian market since our first case of BSE," but Brazilian producers have been "waiting to ship beef to the U.S., where they have been banned due to foot and mouth disease concerns. So, in August of this year, the U.S. and Brazil jointly announced that both countries would open their doors to fresh or non-processed beef from both countries.”
McEndaffer said Brazil started shipping sooner than the U.S., but the U.S. had more details to work out, one of which was a unique label requirement Brazil sought. U.S. slaughter plants also had to be relisted as eligible for export to Brazil. Those details were finally posted last week, she added. “So, with that, any plants that are approved to ship to Brazil can now start working on the label registration, and we’re hoping to start seeing product land in the country in early 2017,” McEndaffer said.
While Brazil is one of the world’s largest beef-producing and beef-exporting countries, McEndaffer said there are definitely opportunities for certain U.S. beef cuts in the Brazilian market. The picanha (pronounced pick-ahn-ya) – which is more commonly known in the U.S. as the sirloin cap or coulotte – is very popular in Brazil, and buyers are excited to gain access to the U.S. version of this cut. Brazil could also be a strong market for U.S. beef livers, and she expects to see demand for U.S. short ribs, chuck flaps, tri-tips, strip loins, skirts and chuck eye rolls, as well.