Brazilian beef ban has been lifted allowing imports

Worker at Bertin meat processing plant moves side of beef, Lins, Sao Paulo, Brazil....
Worker at Bertin meat processing plant moves side of beef, Lins, Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Associated Press) (KOTA)
Published: Mar. 3, 2020 at 5:24 PM MST
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According to the USDA, the United States produced close to 27 billion pounds of beef. But that isn't the only beef on the market.

In 2018, the USDA says Brazil was the world's largest exporter of beef, providing close to twenty percent of the global total and last week the USDA decided to lift a three-year ban that stopped Brazil from importing beef to the U.S.

Eric Jennings is the president of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association.

"In 2016 the U.S. allowed imports from Brazil for fresh and chilled meat, but there were some concerns about Brazil's food safety," said Jennings.

That same year, Brazil was only accounting for about one and a half percent of beef that was imported to the U.S. but after almost two million pounds of Brazilian beef was rejected by the United States Department of Agriculture, the US put a ban on receiving beef imports from Brazil. A ban that didn't last long, because in 2020 the ban was lifted.

"The United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, did an audit of their food and safety inspections that they do in Brazil and they concluded from that audit that Brazil had addressed the concerns that the United States had before the ban went into place," said Jennings.

Here in South Dakota lifting the ban is concerning ranchers because food safety is a top priority.

"Lifting the ban creates some uneasiness with a lot of us South Dakota producers, but you just have to trust that the USDA knows what they're doing," said Jennings.

It could take several months before the U.S. will even see any of these exports.