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Aug 8, 2016

Tester Skewers Administration's Brazilian Beef Decision

Senator Stands Up for Montana Agriculture Producers and Consumers

(Big Sandy, MT) - Senator Jon Tester called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase transparency and address safety concerns regarding the importation of Brazilian beef.

This week USDA announced a policy change allowing Brazil to send raw beef to the United States. Tester sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack on behalf of Montana consumers and hard-working cattlemen and women outlining his concerns about Brazilian food safety standards and its recent history of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Tester pushed the USDA for answers on what the Administration has done to improve the emergency response to an animal disease outbreak such as FMD. Additionally, he called for more transparency in how this decision was made and how these food safety standards would be verified in the future.

"Montana cattle producers have the best beef around, and they are held to the highest food safety standards," Tester wrote. "We should expect no less from Brazilian producers."

In light of this decision, Brazil is expected to send 60,000 tons of beef to the United States this year.

"Montana ranchers cannot afford to jeopardize our state's world renowned cattle herds to possible Foot and Mouth Disease exposure as a result of USDA's recent announcement to import fresh chilled or frozen beef from Brazil," said Errol Rice of the Montana Stockgrowers. "We appreciate Senator Tester's urgent inquiry into USDA's decision and we look forward to working together to ensure that all possible risks to FMD have been thoroughly analyzed and addressed with rigorous scientific protocol by USDA."

"USDA's announcement falls in line with the number of obligations currently directed by agreements within the World Trade Organization (WTO) to the US. The problem is that too often Brazil adheres to a "do as I say- not as I do" type of policy. Brazil has a lengthy history of WTO violations that continue to undercut all sectors of US production agriculture. Despite this, Brazil is the first to leverage the WTO when it works in their favor," said Leo McDonnell, Director Emeritus of the US Cattleman's Association. "Senator Tester's letter and ongoing efforts to combat such abuses ensures that both Montana and US cattle producers will not be run roughshod over by a country that continues to fail on every level in living up to international commitments."

Tester's letter to Secretary Vilsack can be found HERE.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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