US suspends all Brazilian beef imports over health fears


WASHINGTON — The United States on Thursday suspended all imports of fresh beef from Brazil, over what the Department of Agriculture said were “recurring concerns about the safety of the products.”

In March, Brazilian authorities said they were investigating evidence that government officials had been taking bribes to facilitate the sale of rotten and expired meat.

A number of countries including European Union members and Japan afterwards restricted imports from Brazil, while the U.S. decided to test all meat imported from the South American country.

On Thursday it said 11 percent of fresh beef products from Brazil had failed the tests, compared to 1 percent from the rest of the world.

The country’s Food Safety and Inspection Service had rejected 1.9 million pounds of fresh beef from Brazil since introducing the new measures, it said.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of meat, with sales equivalent to more than US$14 billion in 2016.