USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to amend its regulations to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of fresh beef from specific Brazilian states. Earlier in the week, USDA and Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and 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 while continuing to protect the U.S. from an introduction of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
USDA says 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 and Inspection Service must also determine Brazil as eligible to export fresh/frozen beef products after a final regulation by APHIS has been published.
FMD is a highly contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals that is only rarely transmitted to humans. APHIS has a strong system in place for detecting and responding to outbreaks of foreign animal diseases, including FMD, and places restrictions on affected regions to protect against the introduction of diseases of concern. All imported meat and meat products must follow USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service regulations for food safety and labeling.
This action is expected to be published in the December 23, 2013 Federal Register. Click here to submit a comment.