The United States has overturned a ban on beef imports from Northern Argentina and 14 states in Brazil.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said this week that it is amending its regulations to allow fresh (chilled or frozen) beef to be imported from the two regions in South America under specific conditions that mitigate the risk of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
These regions are:Northern Argentina, north of an area previously recognized by APHIS as free of FMD known as the Patagonia region.Certain states in Brazil: Bahia, Distrito Federal, Espirito Santo, Goias, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Rondonia, Sao Paulo, Sergipe and Tocantis.
The agency concluded that Argentina and Brazil are able to comply with U.S. import certification requirements. APHIS risk assessments indicate that chilled and frozen beef can be safely imported, provided certain conditions are met to make sure that the meat does not harbor the FMD virus.
The same conditions are already imposed on fresh beef and sheep meat from Uruguay “that we have been safely importing for many years,” APHIS said.
Imports of Argentine beef have been banned in the United States since 2001 to avoid an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Argentina’s cattle herds.
Welcoming the lifting of the ban, Argentina’s foreign minister Hector Timerman said that the country’s cattle herds have been free of the disease since 2007.