Tester Introduces Bill to Suspend Brazilian Beef Imports Amid Safety Concerns

Following repeated issues with delayed reporting of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow Disease, in Brazilian beef, U.S. Senator Jon Tester introduced legislation to suspend Brazilian beef imports to the United States until experts can conduct a systematic review of the commodity’s safety.


Tester’s introduction of S.3230 follows formal requests to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack by cattle groups, and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) urging Vilsack to exercise his authority to immediately suspend imports of Brazilian beef.


The legislation requests for suspension are based on Brazil’s repeated failures to report outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease) in Brazil’s cattle herd. Brazil failed to timely report such outbreaks in 2010 (notification was not made until 2012), 2014, 2019, and in June of this year when two new BSE-infected cattle were detected by Brazilian authorities.


Brazil has a history of other serious beef safety infractions, including the widely reported beef export scandal in early 2017 in which Brazil was found to be exporting rotten and tainted beef. The scandal eventually led to then Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue’s decision to impose only a partial suspension of beef imports from Brazil. That suspension only applied to fresh beef and not pre-cooked beef, and the partial suspension did not occur until several months after the scandal was disclosed.


Kansas Cattlemen’s Association supports the ban of all livestock and beef imports from infected countries and or trading partners entering the USA until the BSE or Foot and Mouth Disease as well as any and all other emerging infectious disease countries’ cattle and beef are proven safe.


“Brazil has historically proven itself to be a bad player, and should not be permitted further imports into the U.S. This is smart legislation, and will help to protect the American consumer and U.S. cattle herd,” stated KCA Executive Director Tyler Dupy.

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