U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) is among a bipartisan group of Senators who are suggesting the U.S. Department of Agriculture may need a complete verification process before lifting a ban on Brazilian raw beef imports.
Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, signed a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue that expresses concerns with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service decision to lift a ban on Brazilian beef, the monitoring processes for those imports, and the potential compromise of U.S. food safety standards.
“We want the USDA to know that it must practice the strictest due diligence to ensure that Brazilian beef imports meet U.S. food safety standards. Past experience tells us that this could be a challenge to our friends in Brazil,” Hyde-Smith said.
Fifteen Senators wrote Perdue, “In 2017, USDA FSIS refused entry to approximately 2 million pounds of beef from Brazil and subsequently announced the suspension of all imports of fresh beef from Brazil due to public health concerns, poor sanitary conditions, and animal health issues. Given that the United States halted Brazilian raw beef imports less than one year after Brazil was granted access in 2016, we have serious concerns about Brazil’s ability to maintain adequate food safety standards over the long run.”
The lawmakers also noted that, “considering Brazil’s multiple failed attempts to uphold equivalent food safety standards, we believe a complete verification process of certified Brazilian facilities may be warranted.”
U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) led the letter, which was also signed by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).