USDA to permit beef imports from Argentina and Brazil.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is tasked with protecting the United States from animal and plant pests that could threaten the domestic agricultural market and the food supply. Regulations in 9 CFR Part 94 prohibit or restrict the import of certain animals/animal products into the United States to prevent the introduction and spread of various diseases that may pose health threats to ruminants and swine.
- On June 29, 2015, APHIS announced amendments to its regulations to permit the importation of fresh (chilled or frozen) beef from regions of Northern Argentina and certain Brazilian states under specific conditions intended to mitigate the risk of food-and-mouth disease.
- Some stakeholders are concerned that the regulatory change will put the country at risk of exposure to foot-and-mouth disease. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) sharply criticized the change as an example of trade concerns trumping food safety. As Congress currently sits poised to repeal mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements for meat products to alleviate trade concerns, APHIS’ rule amendment adds to recent activities that highlight the tensions between regulating the domestic meat market and remaining adequately open to foreign trade where appropriate standards are met.