The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Friday announced it is proposing to amend its regulations to allow, under certain conditions, the importation of fresh beef from specific Brazilian states.
Earlier in the week, the USDA and Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply issued a joint statement affirming their mutual commitment to science-based rulemaking and announcing both countries agreed to a path forward to address rules that currently limit bilateral beef trade.
The proposed regulation changes would allow the importation of chilled or frozen beef while continuing to protect the United States from an introduction of foot-and-mouth disease, a USDA press statement noted.
Based on a risk assessment and series of site visits, APHIS concluded that Brazil has the veterinary infrastructure in place to detect and effectively eradicate a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak if necessary.
USDA noted that imported beef would be subject to regulations that would mitigate the risk of FMD introduction, including movement restrictions, inspections, removal of potentially affected parts and a maturation process.
Prior to actual importation of beef from these Brazilian states, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service must also determine Brazil as eligible to export fresh/frozen beef products after a final regulation by APHIS has been published.
APHIS places restrictions on FMD-affected regions to protect against the introduction of diseases of concern. All imported meat and meat products must follow USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service regulations for food safety and labeling.
USDA will publish the proposal in the Dec. 23 Federal Register. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Feb. 21, 2014.