03-22-17 USCA Responds to Allegations of Corruption in Brazil Processing Facilities

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USCA Responds to Allegations of Corruption in Brazil Processing Facilities

(WASHINGTON) – Following reports this week out of Brazil, the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has worked quickly to ensure the U.S. meat supply is protected from any shipments of tainted beef.

Allegations have been raised that meat inspectors in multiple Brazilian meat processing facilities have been bribed to approve meat not fit for consumption. USCA has reached out to both the Administration and Congress to investigate the claims.

USCA immediately reached out to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) for a report on the allegations and any assessments being conducted by the Department.

USCA President Kenny Graner commented on Congressional response, “USCA appreciates the quick action taken by Senator Tester (D-MT) and Senator Heitkamp (D-ND); and Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) on this issue.”

Senator Tester (D-MT) introduced legislation this week that would place a 120-day ban on the importation of Brazilian beef to the U.S. in order to allow the USDA to thoroughly investigate the matter while keeping the domestic supply safe.

Senator Heitkamp (D-ND) and Ranking Member Stabenow (D-MI) issued their own letters to the Administration calling for a halt on Brazil shipments and increased scrutiny.  The letters ask the USDA-FSIS to report any shipments that have arrived in the U.S. and protocol taken to ensure the U.S. meat supply is safe moving forward.

Graner commented on the letters’ content, “Senators Heitkamp and Stabenow have asked the USDA-FSIS to relay what steps will be taken to review the current food safety and health protocols in Brazil and what steps will be taken if the alleged corruption is confirmed.”

“USCA has remained opposed to the importation of Brazilian beef products to the U.S. for this very reason.  The corruption and uncertainty within the Brazil government leaves the U.S. domestic industry at risk for FMD (foot and mouth disease) and suspect product.”

“U.S. cattle producers follow stringent health and safety measures to ensure consumers are confident in the product at the meat counter.  Cases like this place all U.S. producers at risk, and is yet another example for the need of prescriptive labeling of beef products in the U.S.  Consumers must be confident in the meat they purchase; origin labeling would allow consumers to choose U.S. born, raised, and processed products versus those originating from Brazil in this scenario.”

Graner concluded, “USCA appreciates the swift action from our elected officials and calls on the Administration to respond to the questions and concerns that have been raised.”

Established in March 2007, USCA is committed to concentrating its efforts in Washington, D.C. to enhance and expand the cattle industry’s voice on Capitol Hill.  USCA has a full-time presence in Washington, giving cattle producers across the country a strong influence on policy development.  For more information go to www.uscattlemen.org