A U.S. senator has introduced legislation after reports of BSE in Brazil have surfaced
By Diego Flammini
A U.S. senator introduced a piece of legislation designed to ensure imported Brazilian beef is safe.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who is also a farmer, put forward S.3230 on Nov. 17.
The bill has so far been read twice and referred to the committee on finance.
S.3230 calls for the suspension of Brazilian beef imports into the United States until an assembled working group of food safety and trade representatives has provided a recommendation about the beef’s import status.
“Folks expect their beef to have been rigorously tested against the strictest of standards, and concerns about Brazilian imports not only jeopardize consumer trust, but present a serious risk to Montana producers,” Tester said in a statement. “We owe it to our domestic producers and consumers to halt Brazilian imports until we can guarantee their beef and reporting standards are making the grade.”
Tester’s bill comes after reports of Brazil delaying reporting cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
Multiple reports indicate Brazilian officials confirmed two cases of atypical BSE to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in September, but those cases were originally discovered in June.
Under the OIE, countries are required to report instances of BSE within 24 hours.
Brazil has also delayed BSE reporting in 2019, 2014 and 2012.
Beef industry groups support Tester’s bill.
“U.S. cattle producers have a longstanding track record of meeting USDA’s rigorous oversight standards in order to promote public health, food safety, animal health and well-being – and any country who wishes to trade with the United States must be held to those same standards,” Ethan Lane, vice president of government affairs with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), said in a statement.
The NCBA and R-CALF USA have asked the USDA to step in and suspend beef imports from Brazil.
Farms.com has contacted USDA for comment on if it will take this step.