USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service New Directive Indicates Expanded Testing of Brazilian Beef
As previously covered on this blog, Brazilian federal police raided several meat producers earlier this year for allegedly doling out bribes to inspectors to certify meat that was either rotten or tainted with Salmonella. Following the bribery scandal, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) instituted 100% point-of-entry reinspection of all Brazilian meat products imported into the United States.
On May 12, 2017, FSIS issued Directive 26-17 which appears to formally expand the scope of pathogen testing for Brazilian beef. In particular, Directive 26-17 provides that the increased “Level of Reinspection” at the U.S. border includes conducting product examination on 100% of the lots, condition of container examination of 100% of thermally processed products, and 100% testing of ready-to-eat products for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. The ramped up inspection also includes testing 100% of beef trimmings from Brazil for Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).
In light of lingering concerns stemming from the recent bribery scandal, FSIS’ ramped up inspection will likely continue until the Agency is satisfied that Brazil’s raw and processed beef inspection systems are adequately addressing foodborne pathogens.