Meat & Livestock News

NCBA Criticises USDA’s Green Light for Beef Imports from Paraguay Amidst FMD Concerns

Production of meat products in the supermarket in the supermarket. Next, distribution of finished products to the store’s shop for customers

In a recent development, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has authorised the importation of beef from Paraguay, a decision that has not sat well with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). The core of NCBA’s discontent lies in the longstanding issue of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Paraguay.

Kent Bacus, NCBA’s lead for government affairs, has voiced strong objections, underpinning his arguments with scientific data, including research from the USDA itself. He criticises the USDA’s decision-making process, suggesting it is based on antiquated evaluations and fails to adequately consider that a significant portion of FMD control measures in Paraguay are financed privately, including through cattle trade revenues.

Following a risk analysis, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has concluded that importing fresh beef from Paraguay can be executed safely, provided certain criteria are met.

These criteria include assurances that FMD has not been reported in the export region in the preceding year, the beef is sourced from areas free of FMD for the duration of the animals’ lives, and comprehensive inspections of the animals pre- and post-mortem.

Bacus has expressed NCBA’s dissatisfaction with the USDA’s approach and indicated the association’s determination to continue its opposition. He underscores the imperative of unwavering vigilance against foreign animal diseases entering the U.S., advocating for consistent and uncompromising standards, irrespective of political or economic pressures.

The rule permitting these imports has been documented in the Federal Register and is subject to a 60-day public comment period. The conditions set for these imports are consistent with the World Trade Organization’s guidelines on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, aligning with international trade norms.