USA, Washington. US Senators Mike Rounds and Jon Tester reintroduced legislation to suspend Brazilian beef imports to the United States due to repeated delays in reporting dangerous animal diseases.
Senator Round’s Office published a press release on reintroducing their bipartisan legislation until experts can conduct a systemic review of the commodity’s impact on food safety and animal health. Rounds warned that the livelihoods of producers were being compromised by Brazilian beef imports “that fail to meet our country’s food safety and animal health standards, as Brazil has a history of failing to report, in a timely and accurate manner, diseases found in their herds.”
The senator claimed the legislation would ensure that Brazilian beef is safe for consumption, thus “neutralising Brazil’s deceptive trade tactics.”
Rounds and Tester first introduced the bill in November of 2021 after Brazil revealed two cases of atypical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or “Mad Cow Disease” that June. Brazil reported its cases more than two months after detection to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE), while other countries reported within days after confirming the disease.
According to the press release, delaying reports on BSE cases is a routine occurrence, “with Brazil also waiting months or even years to report similar cases in 2012, 2014 and 2019.” The senators claimed that repeated delays in reporting suggest an overly lax food safety regime. They state that it raised concerns about reporting additional dangerous diseases such as Foot-and-Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever and Avian Influenza.
Rounds and Tester argue that the legislation would ensure Brazilian beef is safe to import by imposing a moratorium on Brazilian beef until a group of food safety, animal health and trade experts has made a recommendation regarding its import status.
Members of the beef industry voiced their support of the bill, including the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and R-CALF USA. “Put simply, Brazil is a bad actor in the global marketplace,” said Whitney Klasna, Vice President of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association. “Several countries, including China, banned the Brazilian beef last year following animal and human health scares in the country.” Klasna called it outrageous to continue accepting the importation of beef “from a country that is not interested in upholding the high standards and quality of the US cattle and beef industries.”