U.S. SENATE—U.S. Senator Steve Daines today called on President Biden and his administration to immediately suspend Brazilian beef imports after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was recently reported. Brazil recently suspended its beef exports to China in conjunction with its 2015 bilateral trade agreement between the two countries. No such trigger exists with the United States and its beef imports from Brazil. It is fully within the President’s power to take this step to protect the safety of our food supply and cattle herds and Congressional action is not necessary.
“I write to express my concern over continued fresh beef imports from Brazil and urge you and your administration to immediately suspend Brazilian beef imports.
“In 2017, Brazilian fresh beef imports were suspended due to food safety concerns, but the USDA unfortunately lifted that suspension in 2020. I believe recent concerns with Brazil’s food safety practices justify the immediate suspension of Brazil’s fresh beef imports until USDA can ensure livestock producers that Brazilian beef does not pose a risk to spread BSE or other potentially dangerous livestock diseases.
“Additionally, the situation has caused Brazil to suspend its beef exports to China. It appears this is due to a clause in Brazil’s trade agreement with China. So once again, the United States finds itself in the situation of being behind China, this time in realm of food safety. If Brazilian beef is not healthy for China, it should not be healthy for the U.S. market either.
“Ranchers across Montana make their living by producing the highest quality beef in the world using science-based standards to prioritize the health of both the cattle and the consumer. The U.S. food supply and cattle herds must be protected from undue risk of contamination until Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply’s enacts sweeping reforms to Brazil’s cattle industry and addresses these significant food safety concerns,” Daines wrote.
Download the letter HERE.
Yesterday, Daines issued a statement demanding the President halt Brazilian beef imports.