U.S. places major ban on Brazilian exports

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Amid concerns over food safety, the United States has banned all imports of fresh beef from Brazil.

According to a Thursday statement from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the embargo will remain in place until Brazil takes “corrective action.”

Brazil, the fifth largest beef exporter to the U.S., shipped approximately 152.7 million pounds of beef to the U.S. in 2016, up 2 percent. Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico placed ahead of Brazil in beef exports to the U.S. in 2016.

A CNBC report revealed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has been inspecting all meat products arriving from Brazil since March. U.S. officials refused entry to 11 percent of the products, or approximately 1.9 million pounds, due to “public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues,” according to the agency.

“That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of 1 percent of shipments from the rest of the world,” the agency said.

The U.S. had been told by the Brazilian government that it is working to address safety issues and has shut down five facilities.

“Although international trade is an important part of what we do at USDA, and Brazil has long been one of our partners, my first priority is to protect American consumers,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a statement. “That’s what we’ve done by halting the import of Brazilian fresh beef.”

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