US lifts Brazilian beef import ban amid quality concerns

Raw beef will soon be arriving on U.S. shores from Brazil again, a move by the Trump administration that has roiled U.S. beef and food safety groups

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said Friday the agency recently conducted on-site audits of Brazil’s raw beef production facilities to verify improvement in practices since 2017, when the USDA suspended importation of Brazilian beef over safety concerns.

She said the suspension ended Friday. Raw beef from Brazil will be “subject to re-inspection” at U.S. ports of entry, she said.

A spokesman for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said the group has concerns about quality given Brazil’s history of foot-and-mouth disease and its record of repeated food safety violations at ports-of-entry.

“You can rest assured that NCBA will keep an eagle eye focus on all developments with Brazil and we expect nothing less than the highest level of scrutiny from USDA and customs officials,” said Kent Bacus, the group’s senior director of international trade and market access, in a statement.

Environmental and food safety group Food & Water Watch Action said it’s not convinced product quality issues have been resolved.

“It took two U.S. taxpayer-funded audits this past year for Brazil to have allegedly gotten its act together. We are not convinced," said Tony Corbo, a spokesman for the group.

He said consumers will be taking a gamble every time they eat beef in the United States because there will be no country-of-origin labeling requirements on Brazilian beef.