Despite assurances that beef can be safely imported into the U.S. from selected Brazilian states, Scott George, the president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, isn’t buying it.
“The problem with this is foot and mouth can be transmitted in raw product, and we could conceivably get that disease in this country,” said George on Friday, during an interview with Brownfield Ag News. “And we have as our first priority the safety and concern for the health and wellbeing of our cattle.”
Based on risk assessments, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has proposed amending current regulations to allow the import of fresh beef from certain Brazilian states. The agency says the expected 40,000 tons of Brazilian product a year represents an import increase of less than one percent. But George tells Brownfield it’s not really a competition issue.
“We can compete with anybody, and we have a product that is superior to what we feel is any other product in the world,” he said, “and so we’re not afraid of the competition at all, but we’re very concerned about bringing disease into our country, so this will be a high, high priority discussion and really, really looked at in depth.”
The issue, said George, will be discussed at the NCBA convention in Nashville this February.
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