Tester, Rounds reintroduce bill to suspend Brazilian beef imports
|Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., on Friday reintroduced their bipartisan bill to suspend Brazilian beef imports to the United States until experts can conduct a systemic review of the commodity’s impacts on food safety and animal health.|
Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., is also a cosponsor.
|“Folks shouldn’t have to worry about whether the products they buy at the grocery store are safe to eat, and that’s why we need to halt Brazilian beef imports until Brazilian producers can prove that their products meet our health and safety standards,” Tester said.|
“I’ll take on anyone, at home and abroad, to ensure that Montana producers aren’t cut out of the market by foreign corporations who aren’t following the rules.”
|“Producer’s livelihoods are 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,” Rounds added.|
“This poses a significant threat to both American producers and consumers. Consumers should be able to confidently feed their families beef that has met the rigorous standards required in the United States. Our bipartisan legislation would make certain Brazilian beef is safe to transport and eat before it is brought into our markets, neutralizing Brazil’s deceptive trade tactics.”
The senators noted that they first introduced the bill in November 2021 after Brazil detected two cases of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or “mad cow disease” that June.
Most countries report similar cases to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) immediately — with both the United Kingdom and Germany this year reporting cases within days of their occurrence earlier this year — but Brazil reported its cases more than two months after the fact, breaking trust with the OIE and global trading partners, they said.
This has been a routine occurrence, with Brazil also waiting months or even years to report similar cases in 2019, 2014, and 2012, they added.
Brazil enjoys preferential market access on the global stage due to its designation as a “negligible risk” exporter by OIE. While rare, one-off instances of atypical BSE do not necessarily indicate systemic issues with the health of Brazilian cattle herds, repeated delays in reporting suggest an overly lax food safety regime and raise concerns about the reporting of additional dangerous diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, African swine fever, and avian influenza.
The legislation is supported by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and R-CALF USA.The text of the bill is not yet available.