The federal government announced today that it suspends all imports of fresh beef from Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of beef, due to “persistent concerns about the safety of market-oriented products” in the United States.
In a statement, the USDA said the suspension of imports “will remain in force until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action” that the US government considers “satisfactory.”
“While international trade is an important part of what we do at USDA, and Brazil has long been one of our partners in it, my top priority is to protect US consumers. That is what we have done by stopping imports from Brazilian beef, “Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in the statement.
The US decision comes from a series of controls that the Department of Agriculture began to subject these imports from March, when a mafia of producers was uncovered in Brazil that bribed health prosecutors to sell meats in bad state or adulterated.
According to Brazilian police, some processors, including plants linked to the giant exporters JBS and BRF, had the complicity of corrupt health prosecutors to “make up” chemical products with meats that were in poor condition and did not meet the requirements for consumption .
The scandal, called the “weak meat,” led to some 20 countries, including major buyers such as China, Hong Kong and the European Union (EU), to impose temporary restrictions on imports of Brazilian meat.
The US action comes a little later, but is based on inspections initiated in March by the Food Inspection and Security Service (FSIS), which has since inspected “100 percent of the meat products that came in To the US from Brazil, “according to the USDA note.
“FSIS has denied entry to 11 percent of Brazil’s fresh beef products, which is significantly higher than the 1 percent decline in shipments from the rest of the world,” the statement said.
“Since the increase in inspections was implemented, FSIS has denied entry to 106 batches (approximately 1.9 million pounds, or 862,600 kilograms) of Brazilian meat products because of concerns about public health, sanitation and Animal health, “the note adds.
USDA underscored that “none of the rejected lots ever entered the US market.”
The Brazilian group JBS, one of the world’s largest exporters of meat and involved in the scandal over the product, is also involved in another huge case of corruption, the same as the case against Brazilian President Michel Temer.
The investigation is based on the revelations to the Justice of several executives of JBS that, besides accusing Temer of receiving fines from 2010 and to contribute an explosive and apparently compromising record, they confessed to have paid bribes to 1,829 politicians of 28 parties.