NCBA calls for immediate halt to Brazilian beef imports

Brazil has violated WOAH rules around reportable diseases
calendar icon 3 March 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Last week, Brazil reported another atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to the World Animal Organization for Animal Health (WOAH). That report indicated 35 days elapsed between when the case was first identified on Jan. 18, 2023, and the date it was confirmed on Feb. 22, 2023, according to a press release from the National Cattleman's Beef Association (NCBA).

According to NCBA, this represents an unacceptable delay that is in clear violation of WOAH reporting requirements. 

"It is clear that Brazil is incapable of prompt testing and the reporting requirements that all nations must follow when engaging in international beef trade," said the press release. 

Because of a repeated pattern of delayed reporting, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has called on Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to take immediate action to indefinitely suspend beef imports from Brazil until it has made systemic reforms and takes necessary steps to restore confidence in the nation’s ability to participate in the global beef supply.

"We have seen Brazil repeatedly fail to meet the 24-hour requirement for reporting of animal diseases listed by WOAH," said NCBA President and South Dakota cattleman Todd Wilkinson. "In order to protect the safety and security of the US herd and American cattle producers, we demand USDA take immediate steps to block further beef imports from Brazil." 

"Furthermore, we expect USDA to keep the border closed to Brazil until they can demonstrate that they are willing and able to play by the trade rules that govern all other nations," Wilkinson added. "If they can’t play by the rules, they don’t deserve access. Secretary Vilsack needs to act now, rather than kicking the can down the road."

Earlier this week, NCBA sent a letter to the USDA demanding immediate action on this issue. NCBA is also supportive of bipartisan Senate legislation to suspend Brazilian beef imports pending a review of Brazil’s standards.

"For too long, American cattlemen and women have honored the laws governing international trade, promoting fair and equitable standards, only to have nations like Brazil ignore those same standards," Wilkinson said. "Brazil cannot be allowed to benefit from the investments we have made to build a massive demand for beef around the globe. If trade partners like Brazil fail to follow the rules, there must be consequences, they must be painful and immediate."

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