WASHINGTON — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association continues to push for the suspension of beef imports from Brazil. 

In its latest request, the organization cited Brazil’s record in dealing with atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

“We are, once again, calling on Secretary Vilsack to suspend fresh beef imports from Brazil, because of that country’s long history of failing to report BSE cases in a timely manner. It’s incredibly disappointing to have our science-based recommendations met with no notable response by the US Department of Agriculture,” said Ethan Lane, vice president of government affairs for NCBA. “As beef imports from Brazil continue to rise, we urge USDA to reconsider their stance on Brazilian beef and take necessary action to safeguard the integrity of the entire US food supply chain.”

Beef imports from Brazil have a temporary tariff safeguard of 26.4% that will apply until the end of 2022. However, NCBA still feels like more needs to be done before Brazilian beef enters the US market. 

“While a temporary tariff increase may discourage further imports from Brazil, it does not address the underlying concern over Brazil’s repeated failure to adhere to international animal health and food safety standards,” the organization said.

In the past, NCBA said that other countries with confirmed BSE cases notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) within hours or days of confirmation. But Brazil has a history of delayed reporting of BSE cases. The organization called for a thorough audit of Brazil’s animal health and food safety system.

In 2021, Brazilian exports to the United States increased by 131%, according to NCBA. In the first three months of 2022, Brazil has already shipped more than 50,000 metric tons of fresh beef to the United States.

NCBA said 12% of beef consumed in the United States is imported.