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Senator John Thune rebukes lift on Brazilian beef

By Anson Mareus

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KELO.com) -- U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today led a bipartisan group of senators in expressing their concern with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) decision to lift its U.S. ban on Brazilian raw beef imports. The senators worry this decision could put food safety standards at risk, and they have significant concerns over how these beef imports will be monitored.

“In 2017, USDA FSIS refused entry to approximately 2 million pounds of beef from Brazil and subsequently announced the suspension of all imports of fresh beef from Brazil due to public health concerns, poor sanitary conditions, and animal health issues,” the senators wrote. “Given that the United States halted Brazilian raw beef imports less than one year after Brazil was granted access in 2016, we have serious concerns about Brazil’s ability to maintain adequate food safety standards over the long run.”

In addition to Thune, the letter was also signed by U.S. Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

(Katie Lingle contributed this report)