US and Brazil seal new fresh beef deal

The United States and Brazil have agreed to allow access to each other’s fresh beef markets following extensive negotiations.

Under the deal, Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply is to allow access for U.S. beef and beef products to the Brazilian market for the first time since 2003.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Brazil’s action reflects the United States’ negligible risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and aligns Brazil’s regulations to the OIE’s scientific international animal health guidelines.

Meanwhile, the US has allowed Brazilian access to its beef market for the first time since 1999. It is understood that exports could begin in 90 days and an initial quota of 60,000t of Brazilian beef has been agreed for this year.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) determined that Brazil’s food safety system governing meat products remains equivalent to that of the United States and that fresh (chilled or frozen) beef can be safely imported from Brazil.

It said following a multi-year science based review consistent with U.S. food safety regulations the FSIS is amending the list of eligible countries and products authorized for export to the United States to allow fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from Brazil.

Both countries will immediately begin updating their administrative procedures in order to allow trade to resume. U.S. companies will need to complete Brazil’s regular facilities registration process.

The deal is likely to increase the competition for Irish beef which also recently gained access to the US market. Brazil already exports significant amounts of cooked beef to the US which is used in products such as corned beef.

Only last month the Department of Agriculture here in Ireland announced that the US would now allow the importation of Irish manufacturing beef after the US reopened to Irish beef in 2014.