STC Number - 370

US imports of meat from Brazil

Maintained by: United States of America
Raised by: Nicaragua
Supported by: El Salvador
First date raised: March 2014 G/SPS/R/74 paras. 3.5-3.8
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/GEN/1330
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Pest or Disease free Regions / Regionalization
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2014, Nicaragua raised concerns regarding a proposed new US rule for the entry of beef from Brazil, which Nicaragua indicated would increase the risk of foot and mouth disease (FMD) spreading to Central America. a lot of effort had gone into ensuring that Central America was free of FMD and to prevent the spread of FMD into the region. Currently, the United States allowed importation of beef only from FMD-free coutnries, with or without vaccination. While the OIE recognized Santa Catarina, Brazil, as an FMD-free area, the north of Brazil was not FMD-free and there was no guarantee that the disease would not spread to neighbouring areas. Nicaragua also highlighted the improtance of traceability programmes for the identification of affected animals. The cattle traceability programme was voluntary and only applied to cattle whose meat was desitned for coutnreis that required traceability of the beef from birth. This lack of a mandatory traceability system could affect Brazil's capacity to monitor, detect and respond to emergency events. Nicaragua stressed thatr the FMD virus was diffcult to eradicate with vaccination as it was a disease susceptible to variation. An outbreak of FMD in Nicaragua would have a devastating effect o nthe country's economy, given that the beef and livestock industry was the main pillar of its national economy.

El Salvador outlined that FMD was an exotic illness and joint efforts of countries were necessary to maintain Central America's FMD-free status without vaccination. It supported Nicaragua's concerns as the country depended mainly on exports of agricultural goods and a possible outbreak of FMD could bring about significant economic consequences. Guatemala also supported the concern since imports of agricultrue products of cattle origin from FMD-free coutnries with vaccination coud put the country at great risk.

Brazil described Nicaragua's concern as based on purely commercial grounds, which were outside the scope of the Committee. Furthermore, Brazil exported meat to more than 100 countries, and was clearly a trustworthy partner. The United States had concluded a thorough risk analysis fo Brazil's sanitary system, in accordance with OIE recommendations and the provisions of the SPS Agreement, which confirmed the high sanitary and food safety conditions of Brazilian beef products.

The United States responded highlighting its efforts to prevent the entry and spread of FMD. APHIS was proposing changes to its regulations to allow the importation of fresh beef from 14 states in Brazil. After a careful analysis and several site visits to Brazil, APHIS had determined that Brazil could detect, control and report FMD in case of an outbreak. The United States recalled that the planned change in US regulations was a proposed rule and urged Nicaragua to submit its comments on the rule.