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Full Version: Nebraska Farmers Union Board of Directors Call for a Ban on Brazilian Food Import
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At their spring meeting, the Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) Board of Directors issued a renewed call for the reinstatement of Country of Origin labeling following the breaking news over extensive corruption involving the Brazilian meat-packing giant, JBS and BRF, the largest poultry packager in the world. The Board also called for the imposition of a ban on importation of product from Brazil pending the results of further investigation by Brazilian authorities.

Press reports said Brazilian authorities recently conducted extensive undercover investigations in packing plants in Brazil controlled by the two entities, which uncovered the bribery of health inspectors in which payments were made to avoid health inspections; the addition of cardboard and potatoes to some of the products produced; and the use of a cancer-causing acid on some products so that they could acquire the Brazilian stamp of approval despite being rotten or of questionable origin.

NeFU President John Hansen said “In light of this food safety scandal, Chile, Mexico, Canada, Egypt, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland and the European Union have all banned the importation of Brazilian product, resulting in a dramatic decline in exports from the South American nation. Those countries took decisive actions to protect their nation’s food safety and food consumers. The Trump Administration should act decisively and do likewise.”

http://nebraskafarmersunion.org/nebraska...d-imports/

Brazilian authorities recently conducted extensive undercover investigations in packing plants in Brazil controlled by the two entities. The probes uncovered:

n The bribery of health inspectors in which payments were made to avoid health inspections.

n The addition of cardboard and potatoes to some of the products produced.

n The use of a cancer-causing acid on some products so that they could acquire the Brazilian stamp of approval despite being rotten or of questionable origin.

“In light of this food safety scandal, Chile, Mexico, Canada, Egypt, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland and the European Union have all banned the importation of Brazilian products, resulting in a dramatic decline in exports from the South American nation,” said NeFU President John Hansen, “Those countries took decisive actions to protect their nation’s food safety and food consumers. The Trump administration should act decisively and do likewise.”

Some in the U.S. — such as Sonny Perdue, who is Trump’s nominee for secretary of agriculture — said such a ban could result in retaliatory actions by the Brazilians, Hansen said it is more a public health issue and should have priority over any other considerations, including trade considerations.

In addition to food safety risks, Hansen said the NeFU Board was also concerned about the potential risk of reintroducing hoof and mouth disease into the United States.

Hoof and mouth disease was eradicated in the United States in the 1920s, but remains endemic in South American herds.

http://www.theindependent.com/news/ag_ne...74d11.html
Livestock producers are seeking $750 million to beef up the nation’s vaccine bank for foot-and-mouth disease, saying an outbreak on U.S. soil would quickly reach epidemic proportions and cause hundreds of billions of dollars in losses to producers of cattle, pork, sheep and other livestock.
Foot-and-mouth disease, or FMD, is a highly contagious viral disease that was considered eradicated from the U.S. in 1929, but remains endemic in Africa, Asia, some South American countries and the Middle East. While it does not affect humans and is not considered a public health or food safety threat, it sickens cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer and other animals with divided hoofs. Infected animals usually must be euthanized.
There hasn’t been a recent outbreak in the U.S. to cause alarm, but the nation’s vaccine bank in Plum Island, New York, has antigens for only 10 of the 23 strains currently circulating around the globe, David Herring, vice president of the National Pork Producers Council said at a hearing Tuesday of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.
The hearing was part of a whirlwind of events setting the groundwork for the next farm bill, a roughly $1 trillion five-year spending plan that covers food stamps and other federal nutrition programs and sets standards for crop insurance, farm support programs and an array of other programs affecting U.S. agriculture and forestry. House Agriculture Committee Michael Conaway, R-Midland, has said he is committed to getting the 2018 farm bill passed on time.
U.S. pork exports reached a record 2.3 million metric tons in 2016, accounting for 26 percent of production. Those markets would quickly close if the disease was detected, he said, adding that it wouldn’t take much for terrorists to unleash FMD in the U.S. as a way of hurting the U.S. food supply and inflicting serious economic damage.
“The U.S. pork industry’s top priority for the next farm bill is establishing a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank,” Herring said. “If this country ever had an FMD outbreak not only could it devastate my farm and the whole livestock industry but the entire U.S. economy.”

http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/loc...020950.php

It started on March 17 with raids on meatpacking plants in Brazil, one of the world’s largest exporters of beef. Federal police carried out the sting, which left two of the country’s biggest beef companies standing accused of egregious food safety violations.
The operation – which used the evocative code name Weak Flesh – uncovered an alleged bribery scheme among several beef companies, including giants JBS SA and BRF, and government health inspectors, who allowed the companies to ship out beef past its sell-by date. The investigators also allege some of the companies were repackaging spoiled or contaminated meat, using additives to mask smells, and passing beef off as inspected, safe-to-eat meat.
The Brazilian company JBS, which calls Greeley, Colorado, its North American home, has acknowledged the bribery, telling Bloomberg that the offending employees are being reprimanded.

Because Brazil is a behemoth in the global beef trade, the reaction to the news has been swift. China quickly halted beef shipments from Brazil, leaving some container ships full of frozen beef stranded offshore. Officials with the European Union have asked Brazil to cease beef shipments to its member states. JBS has decided to temporarily shutdown 33 of its beef facilities in Brazil in response to the international embargoes. An investment law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against JBS.

In the U.S., federal regulators are assuring meat eaters that the beef supply is safe. In a statement this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s acting deputy director Mike Young made clear that the agency is taking precautions.

"Keeping food safe for American families is our top priority,” Young said. “[The Food Safety and Inspection Service] has strengthened the existing safeguards that protect the American food supply as a precaution and is monitoring the Brazilian government's investigation closely.”

Safeguards include more testing for pathogens of raw beef shipped from Brazil to the U.S. and stepped up inspections at all ports of entry. No beef from the facilities implicated in the investigation was shipped to the U.S., according to the USDA.

The beef trade between the U.S. and Brazil is a relatively new, and is a somewhat fragile relationship. After years of talks and negotiations, the U.S. reopened trade with the South American country in August 2016. Between 2003 and 2016 no Brazilian beef made it to American shores. As the USDA was finalizing the trade deal, U.S. ranchers cried foul, claiming the Brazilian government wasn’t doing enough to tamp down outbreaks of foot and mouth disease.

The Brazilian probe has American lawmakers skittish. After news of the investigation broke, Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester introduced legislation to ban import of Brazilian beef for 120 days.

"We must take decisive action to ensure no family in Montana or anywhere else in this country is exposed to the danger of deceptive Brazilian beef processors," Tester said in a statement.

http://www.kunc.org/post/brazilian-beef-...y-bad-week