USDA to allow beef imports from specific Brazilian states

USDA proposes to allow certain importation of fresh beef from specific states of Brazil following beef trade agreement last week.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said Dec. 20 that it is proposing to amend its regulations to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of fresh beef from specific Brazilian states. Earlier last week, USDA and Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Food Supply (MAPA) issued a joint statement affirming their mutual commitment to science-based rulemaking and announcing both countries agreed to a path forward to address rules that currently limit bilateral beef trade.

The proposed regulation changes would allow the importation of chilled or frozen beef from the Brazilian states of Bahia, Distrito Federal, Espirito Santo, Goias, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Rondonia, Sao Paulo, Sergipe and Tocantins while continuing to protect the U.S. from an introduction of foot and mouth disease (FMD), APHIS said.

Based on a risk assessment and series of site visits, APHIS concluded that Brazil has the veterinary infrastructure in place to detect and effectively eradicate an FMD outbreak if necessary, and imported beef would be subject to regulations that would mitigate the risk of FMD introduction, including movement restrictions, inspections, removal of potentially affected parts and a maturation process. Prior to actual importation of beef from these Brazilian states, USDA's Food Safety & Inspection Service must also determine Brazil as eligible to export fresh/frozen beef products after a final regulation by APHIS has been published.

This action was published in the Dec. 23 Federal Register. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Feb. 21, 2014.
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