Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced plans to lift a ban on imported beef from Brazil that has been in effect since June 2017.
In response, Tony Corbo, Senior Government Affairs Representative for Food & Water Action issued the following statement:
“Despite ongoing investigations into corruption in the Brazilian meat inspection system, Trump’s USDA is suddenly rolling out the red carpet to Brazil’s dodgy beef. It took two U.S. taxpayer-funded audits this past year for Brazil to have allegedly gotten its act together. We are not convinced. USDA made the right call in 2017 to enact a ban on imported beef from Brazil, and today’s about-face is a breach of public safety.
“In December 2019, Brazilian microbiologists released a study of exported beef from Brazil's largest beef producing state that found almost 70% of sampled beef plants to contain strains of Listeria bacteria. Listeria is not something you want to serve your children; it can cause fatal illnesses and severe infection.
“After this new policy takes effect, consumers will be taking a gamble every time they eat beef in the United States. There will be no country-of-origin labeling requirements on Brazilian beef, so there will be no way to know if the hamburgers you eat for dinner contain beef from a country that has had a checkered food safety history.
“In December 2017, Food & Water Watch filed a petition with USDA to revoke Brazil's equivalency status as we documented serious food safety violations going back to 2005. Nothing has changed. The Brazilian meat inspection system is still out-of-order and should be treated as such. We condemn the USDA’s reckless decision to welcome in Brazil beef while it is still compromised. We are anxious to see what quid pro quo was received from Brazil in exchange for this disastrous decision.”