DeLauro Calls for Full Review of Brazilian Meat Inspection System Following USDA Audit
WASHINGTON, DC (November 17, 2017) — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statement in response to the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service’s (FSIS) recent audit of Brazil’s meat inspection system.
“FSIS’s most recent audit reaffirms what we have known for years— that there are underlying structural problems with Brazil’s meat inspection system. Specifically, this latest report shows Brazil’s meat inspection system is failing to the meet basic requirements needed to ensure sanitary conditions and to prevent product contamination. The report also concludes that proper procedures have not been put in place to avoid conflicts of interest between inspectors—whose duty it is to uphold food safety standards—and the meatpacking companies that were caught bribing workers earlier this year. To put it simply, we have not yet seen solutions to the problems that led to United States to halt meat imports from Brazil in the first place.”
“The violations identified by FSIS auditors clearly cannot be corrected by short term fixes. That is why I am calling on the USDA to implement a full and thorough review of Brazil’s meat inspection systems before allowing Brazilian meat to be imported to the United States. It is our duty to protect the health and safety of all Americans, and we cannot confidently do that with the information we have now.”
Earlier this year, USDA ceased the importation of Brazilian meat following DeLauro’s letter to the agency. In March, an investigation by Brazilian federal police found that several meatpacking companies allegedly bribed food inspectors to approve sales of meats that might otherwise have failed inspection. The investigation found that companies and inspectors were using “carcinogenic acids” to mask rotten meat, switching out labels on expired meat to change the expiration dates, and deliberately approving shipments of meat products contaminated with Salmonella.