RAPID CITY, S.D. — The South Dakota Stockgrowers thank leaders for recent efforts towards thwarting Brazilian beef imports but realize the importance of continued pressure. Recently Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) joined a bipartisan effort to stop these potentially devastating imports. The South Dakota Senators along with 14 more from other states wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting the immediate suspension of fresh beef imports from Brazil.
“Cattle producers across the country work hard to produce the highest quality beef in the world,” the senators wrote. “This industry should not be jeopardized by Brazilian beef imports that may contaminate U.S. herds and our food supply. We support the requests to suspend Brazilian fresh beef imports until a thorough investigation can be made into Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply food safety review process.”
Additionally in November, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced legislation that would temporarily suspend Brazilian beef imports until a systemic review of the commodity is completed by industry experts and a permanent recommendation to the USDA is made. S.3230 has yet to see much movement, however.
South Dakota Stockgrowers Executive Director James Halverson said, “We greatly appreciate these recent efforts. We know there were at least two cases of BSE in Brazil in June. Those cases, despicably, were not reported until September. Unfortunately, this has been par for the course with the Brazilian Ministry of Ag, and the lack of transparency jeopardizes our entire industry.” He continued, “We need to see continued public pressure put on the USDA to stop these imports immediately. Additionally, we’d love to see more cosponsors for Senator Tester’s S.3230.”
SDSGA President Vaughn Meyer added, “The recent Brazilian beef industry events underscore their dishonest and non-transparent trade commitments with world trade partners. These breeches of trade requirements become a detriment to the integrity of U.S. producers as under current regulations Brazilian beef may assume the USA label with minor reprocessing.