Upon further requests from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the USDA has extended the public comment period for proposed rules allowing the importation of beef from 14 states in Brazil.
The proposed rules would amend current regulations that tightly control exports from Brazil. The comment period originally was to end on Feb. 21 but was pushed to April 22 by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The Dec. 23, 2013 proposal from APHIS garnered wide attention and some intense criticism, due to cases of Food-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in regions of Brazil and neighboring countries. APHIS determined in its proposal that Brazil’s ability to detect and report and respond to emergencies such as FMD are satisfactory, and the country should be allowed to export chilled or frozen beef.
“This rule has major implications, not only on our relationships with trading partners, but also in relation to foreign animal disease management within this country,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall.
“We need to make sure we know all the facts, we have all the data that USDA has used in formulating this proposed rule, and make sure we can adequately prepare comments that help us make the best decision on how we protect our domestic herd here in the United States.”
“We believe in the World Organization for Animal Health, we believe in taking down trade barriers, and we believe in making sure we have the opportunity for as much trade as possible,” said Woodall.
“But, we need to make sure we’re doing that without putting our own domestic herd at risk. No amount of trade is worth that. Over the next 60 days, we will be putting our questions and concerns into our comments in hopes that USDA will slow this process down and ensure those issues are addressed.”
Comments can be sent until April 22 to Docket No. APHIS-2009-0017, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.