The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to continue blocking Paraguay from importing beef to the U.S. in response to USDA releasing a proposed rule that would grant access to Paraguayan beef imports.
“USDA’s proposed rule to allow Paraguayan beef imports into the U.S. is based on 9-year-old data and site visits that occurred in 2008 and 2014. Paraguay has a history of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), and we cannot jeopardize the safety of U.S. consumers and the health of our U.S. cattle herd with outdated information,” said NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Kent Bacus.
“The United States has the highest animal health and food safety standards in the world because we rely on the most up-to-date information and the highest science-based standards,” Bacus continued. “USDA should not proceed with this application until a thorough review can be conducted with current information that demonstrates Paraguay’s equivalence in animal health and food safety standards.”
In the proposed rule from USDA, the department said that APHIS conducted a risk analysis and concluded that fresh beef can be imported safely from Paraguay under certain conditions, including verifying that foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has not been diagnosed in the exporting region in the past 12 months, the meat comes from premises where FMD has not been present during the lifetime of any of the animals, and the animals were inspected before and after death, among others.