Montana's U.S. Senators voice concern over lifting of Brazilian Beef Ban

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Montana's U.S. Senators voice concern over lifting of Brazilian Beef Ban
Montana's U.S. Senators voice concern over lifting of Brazilian Beef Ban

U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and and Jon Tester (D-MT), along with nearly a dozen other bipartisan senators, expressed serious concerns with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service’s decision to lift its ban on Brazilian raw beef imports. Both senators issued press releases late February in response to the ban being lifted.

Daines stressed the decision could put food safety standards at risk, and he questioned how USDA would monitor beef imports from Brazil moving forward. Tester criticized the USDA for their decision to lift a ban on the import of Brazilian beef, which has consistently failed United Stated import standards, he said in his Press release.

Daines said in his press release, “In 2017, [the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service] 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.”

Tester said in his press release, “I’ve spent years urging USDA to do everything they can to ensure that grocery stores are selling safe-to-eat products to American families. Brazil has shown us time and time again that they’re an untrustworthy trading partner when it comes to beef and poultry, so it’s just common sense that we prevent these products from reaching our dinner tables.”

On Feb. 28, Tester and Sen. John Thune (R-ND) led a bipartisan group of 13 of their colleagues— including Senator Steve Daines—in sending a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that the agency reevaluate the decision to lift the ban, which was implemented in 2017.

The Senators reiterated their concerns with reopening U.S. markets to Brazilian beef considering the country’s previous failed attempts to bring their products up to American quality standards.

“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,” wrote the Senators in this letter to Perdue. “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.”

While united in this letter, none of the legislation Senators on the letter have yet cosponsored with Tester to ensure Brazilian beef and poultry imports meet those standards, according to Tester’s press release.

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