Brazil’s embattled meat industry received encouraging news as some of its key export markets eases restrictions stemming from allegations of bribery of meat inspectors.
China, Chile and Egypt have announced they are reopening their import gates to Brazilian meat. China never fully closed the market, but asked for assurances that the preventative measures were in place to assure the safety of Brazilian meat.
A long list of major meat importers issued bans after Brazilian federal police unveiled their investigation into alleged bribes to government health officials.
Two major meat processors were accused of foregoing inspections and allowing outdated meat to get shipped.
Of Brazil’s 1,400 meatpacking plants, 21 are temporarily shut down during the investigation.
Jim Mintert, an agricultural economist with Purdue University, says this could be beneficial to U.S. beef in the long run.
“In 2016, [Brazil] accounted for about 20 percent of world beef exports,” he said. “The U.S. accounted for about 12 percent of world beef exports. It does help position the U.S. as a reliable supplier of beef and perhaps Brazil is a little less reliable so it could have some positive impacts longer term.”