After USDA Lifts Ban on Unsafe Brazilian Beef, Tester Slams Trump Administration for Failing American Consumers

Senator: “By reversing this decision, the Trump Administration is blatantly putting American consumers at risk”

As part of his commitment to safeguarding American families from dangerous food imports, U.S. Senator Jon Tester slammed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for their decision to lift a ban on the import of Brazilian beef—which has consistently failed U.S. import standards.

For years, Tester has worked tirelessly to ensure that USDA is holding Brazil accountable for their unsafe trading practices. Just last year, he introduced legislation that would ensure Brazilian beef and poultry is up to U.S. quality standards before it can be imported into the country, and following the recent USDA decision, he is calling for his colleagues to support it.

“I’ve spent years urging USDA to do everything they can to ensure that grocery stores are selling safe-to-eat products to American families,” said Tester. “Brazil has shown us time and time again that they’re an untrustworthy trading partner when it comes to beef and poultry, so it’s just common sense that we prevent these products from reaching our dinner tables. By reversing this decision, the Trump Administration is blatantly putting American consumers at risk, and any of my colleagues who agree should immediately sign-on to my bill that would prevent tainted meat from entering our country.”

Earlier today, Tester and Sen. John Thune (R-ND) led a bipartisan group of 13 of their colleagues—including Senator Steve Daines—in sending a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that the agency reevaluate the decision to lift the ban, which was implemented in 2017. The Senators expressed their concerns with reopening U.S. markets to Brazilian beef considering the country’s previous failed attempts to bring their products up to American quality standards. However, none of the Senators on the letter have yet cosponsored Tester’s legislation to ensure Brazilian beef and poultry imports meet those standards.

“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,” wrote the Senators “…Considering Brazil’s multiple failed attempts to uphold equivalent food safety standards, we believe a complete verification process of certified Brazilian facilities may be warranted.”

Tester has been an outspoken critic of Brazilian beef imports after reports that the country was exporting rotten beef and attempting to cover it up with cancer-causing acid products in 2017. That year, he introduced legislation to completely halt all beef imports from the country and successfully urged USDA to implement the ban.

Read Tester’s statement on the recent USDA decision HERE.

Read the bipartisan letter to Secretary Purdue HERE.