That petition on the White House’s “We the People” website calling for the United States to ban Brazilian beef was looking for 100,000 signatures. It fell a little short.
In fact it was short by 97,985 signatures and is now locked down.
The Billings, MT-based Rancher-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund or R-CALF USA was hoping the beef bribery scandal in Brazil, which is threatening to bring down the government of President Michel Temer, would cause the American public to support a ban on Brazilian beef.
That has not happened.
Instead, the U.S. and Brazil have lifted bans on each other’s fresh and chilled beef, carrying out an agreement reached by the two counties in August 2016. A spokesman for the San Lucas, CA-based U.S. Cattlemen’s Association said USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is doing a good job of examining beef imports for Brazil, but said the country is “not a good actor” for cattle production and beef trade.
During his confirmation hearing, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue expressed his opposition to a ban on Brazilian beef and support for sampling Brazilian raw beef products when they arrive at import stations in the U.S.
And the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) recently announced the U.S. has emerged as the largest beef exporter in the world. Spokesman Phil Seng said on a volume basis, Japan is up 41 percent, Mexico is up 17 percent, Korea is up 23 percent, Canada is up 14 percent and Taiwan is up 28 percent.
Overall U.S. beef exports are up 15 percent by volume and 19 percent by value. U.S. beef exports are benefiting from Australian cattle herds being at cyclical low populations.
The failed R-CALF petition sought a ban on Brazilian beef until all beef sold in the United States comes with country of origin labeling (COOL).
The next big market opening for U.S. beef is expected to be China. U.S. beef access to China is included in the U.S. China Economic Cooperation 100-Day action plan signed by President Trump and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinpig.
R-CALF favors a return to the briefly used country of origin labels that list where the animal was “born, raised and slaughtered.” The U.S. revoked the country of origin labeling after the World Trade Organization (WTO) rule it violated trade agreements.
None of the facilities targeted by Brazilian Federal Police for bribery had shipped beef to the U.S. when the investigation became public on March 17, according to FSIS.
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