The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the suspension of all fresh beef imports from Brazil due to “recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market”.

According to the USDA, this suspension will last until the Brazilian Ministry for Agriculture takes corrective action – which US authorities deem to be “satisfactory”.

Outlining its reasoning for such action, the USDA revealed that its Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been inspecting all Brazilian meat imports into the country since March.

Of this, 11% of Brazil’s fresh beef products have been rejected – a considerably higher figure than the 1% rejection rate of imports from other counties.

The department said that since inspection levels have increased, 106 lots – equal to about 862t – of meat were rejected. These were refused due to public health concerns, sanitary conditions and animal health issues.

The US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, released a statement on the matter, saying: “Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is one of our critical missions, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness.

Although international trade is an important part of what we do at the USDA, and Brazil has long been one of our partners, my first priority is to protect American consumers.

“That’s what we’ve done by halting the import of Brazilian fresh beef. I commend the work of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families,” Perdue concluded.