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DeLauro Calls on USDA to Cease Importation of Brazilian Meat amid Scandal

March 22, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC (March 22, 2017) Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today wrote to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging the agency to cease the importation of Brazilian meat. DeLauro’s letter comes after 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.

“Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, South Africa, Switzerland, and the European Union have moved to halt importation of Brazilian meats in light of the investigation,” wrote DeLauro. “Earlier this week, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that the agency will increase its checks on Brazilian meat coming into the U.S. Given that Brazil is home to both the world’s largest meat producer and poultry exporter, the actions of FSIS are shortsighted and inadequately address the ongoing food safety issue. The U.S. must not fall behind other countries when ensuring the safety of our food supply.”

“If we wait to halt importation for the first confirmed illness associated with these tainted meats, we risk serious harm to the stability of our nation’s public health,” continued DeLauro. “The USDA should utilize the fullest extent of its authority to immediately suspend all importation of Brazilian meats until agency officials can guarantee that they are not adulterated, mislabeled, or expired. It is my hope that you will take this strong stand to protect the health and safety of all Americans.”

The full letter is available here.