ICYMI- NCBA's Colin Woodall Weighs in on Concerns About Proposed Brazilian Imports of Beef to USMon, 12 May 2014 08:31:16 CDT
In Case You Missed it- One of our Beef Buzz shows from this past week featured comments with the head of the Washington, DC office of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Colin Woodall. Woodall talked with Director of Farm Programming Ron Hays about several subjects- including the concerns that NCBA and many other groups (and lawmakers, too) about allowing fresh and frozen beef into the United States from Brazil without being assured that the Brazilians can have in place a iron clad firewall against FMD hitching a ride on the beef bound for the US and infecting the US Cattle herd for the first time since 1929 with the highly infectous disease.
NCBA also issued a news release on the studies conducted by the US Food Safety and Inspection Service which does not inspire confidence in how good of a job Brazil may be able to do. Evidently, there are some discussions going on since all of that took place the first half of last week as RON was told that no media interviews or followups on this subject are being made at this time.
As a result, these comments from Woodall that were a part of last Wednesday's Beef Buzz and the news release that quickly followed are the most recent comments coming from the leading cattle industry group's representatives in Washington.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below for the Beef Buzz with Colin Woodall and Ron Hays- and here is the release from last week from the NCBA:
"Following the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s proposed rule to allow the importation of fresh and frozen beef from 14 states in Brazil and the closing of the comment period on April 22, 2014, NCBA has reviewed the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service’s final audit report on an onsite audit conducted on Brazil’s meat inspection system. The onsite audit was conducted from February 19 through March 14, 2013 and the report is dated April 16, 2014.
“NCBA is extremely disappointed this final audit report was not released in time for a full review, prior to the comment deadline on the proposed rule,” said Bob McCan, NCBA president and Victoria, Texas cattleman. “In early March, NCBA formally requested through a Freedom of Information Act request, all pertinent documents, including a final 2013 FSIS audit report for Brazil. This report was available prior to the comment deadline, but the failure by FSIS to provide it, shows a complete lack of preparation of the documents the U.S. cattle industry would need in order to make informed and meaningful comments.”
"The FSIS audit was designed to determine the equivalence of Brazil’s meat inspection system. All nations that import product into the U.S. must meet or exceed FSIS’ domestic requirements prior to being approved for importation of fresh or processed meats. The audit focused on six main system components: government oversight, statutory authority and food-safety regulations, sanitation, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points systems, chemical residue control programs and microbiological testing programs.
“This audit report confirms many of the compliance concerns that NCBA recently expressed in our comments on behalf of our members,” said Dr. Kathy Simmons, NCBA chief veterinarian. “Our members have significant concerns with Brazil’s ability and willingness to meet established compliance requirements. Most alarming to me is the inconsistent application and implementation of Specified Risk Material requirements throughout the system and a history of unresolved drug residue violations.”
"The audit found that Brazil’s meat inspection program did not provide a standard guideline for its inspection personnel concerning the definition of SRMs in cattle in accordance with FSIS’ requirements, resulting in inconsistent implementation of the SRM requirements. Brazil’s inspection system did not fully enforce HACCP systems plans and records in five audited establishments. And that Brazil’s inspection personnel did not fully enforce sanitation requirements to prevent cross-contamination of bovine carcasses in one establishment. For those and other reasons, the report stated that “until Brazil has satisfactorily addressed these issues, FSIS will not certify any new establishments as eligible to export to the United States.”
“Cattlemen and women support free and open trade, based on sound science,” said McCan. “But that science relies on the ability of actors to uphold certain standards. We are more convinced than ever, after reading this report, that Brazil is not capable of holding its industry to the same standards we hold ourselves to. If Brazil cannot manage their food safety equivalency standards, how can we trust that they have the safeguards to protect animal health? Therefore, we continue to urge APHIS to withdraw this proposed rule.”
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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