The secretary of the U.S. Department Of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Thursday, June 22 announced that the U.S. will be suspending all beef imports from Brazil over “recurring concerns” of the product’s safety for the country’s market. The decision was made after a great number of meat shipments from Brazil failed to clear the safety checks before entering the American market.

The federal agency has declared that the halt in import will remain until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes action in this matter, which is deemed satisfactory by the agency. The number of safety checks and scrutiny on ready-to-eat products and beef imported from Brazil were increased subsequent to an investigation that looked into the corruption that targeted BRF SA and JBS SA meat companies in the country.

Furthermore, the health inspectors of Brazil were also involved in the corruptive practices surrounding the meat companies in the nation. JBS which is the largest meat packing company globally has declined to comment on the ban.

USDA takes strong stand to ensure food safety

The strict action undertaken by the USDA has threatened the reputation of Brazil’s meat industry, which can bring serious repercussions given that Brazil is the world’s top exporter of poultry and beef. The move can give a healthy boost to the country’s own meat industry and increase domestic meat sales. USDA, since March, has been evaluating 100 percent of all meat products that were coming in the United States from Brazil.

First priority is to protect American consumers: USDA

Food Safety and Inspection Service, a subsidiary of the USDA has rejected 11 percent of Brazilian fresh beef products since March compared to the 1 percent rejection rate the Brazil shipments had to face globally.

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Since the FSIS increased the inspection procedure for the meat packages imported from Brazil, 106 lots which are approximate of 1.9 million pounds of Brazilian beef products were sent back, keeping in mind health concerns of the public. The agency in claimed that none of the rejected meat products have entered the U.S. market.

Perdue had warned in March that if the United States levied a ban on Brazilian meat products the country may strike back to get even. However, on Thursday, after the announcement of Brazilian meat ban, Perdue stated that his “first priority is to protect American consumers." Apart from the U.S. Chile, Egypt, and China had halted the import of Brazilian meat after the federal police found corruptive practices taking place in the meat industry in March this year.