USA, Washington, D.C. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the immediate suspension of fresh beef imports from the South American country after inspections uncovered public health concerns, unsanitary conditions and animal health issues. The agency said the ban will remain in place until Brazil "takes corrective action." This was reported by CNN Money.
The agency said it has been inspecting all meet imports from Brazil since March, and had refused entry to 11% of fresh beef products. It said that figure is "substantially higher" than the rejection rate from the rest of the world, which is around 1%. The Brazilian Association of Beef Industry said in a statement that "corrective actions to adapt production processes are already being taken." The U.S. is the ninth biggest market for Brazilian beef exporters.
José Augusto de Castro, president of the Foreign Trade Association of Brazil, said the ban was bad news for the industry. "It took years to open the American market. It's horrible news for us," Castro told O Globo newspaper. Brazil's beef production has been in turmoil for months, after it emerged some meat producers were allegedly paying bribes to inspectors to certify meat that was either rotten or tainted with salmonella.
China, Mexico, Chile, Japan, the European Union and Hong Kong banned imports of Brazilian meat in March. In response, Brazil's government shut down three plants and suspended the export licenses for 21 meat packing plants.