USDA says no tainted Brazilian meat entered the country

The US Department of Agriculture has confirmed that no out-of-date meat linked to Brazil's meatpacking scandal has entered the country.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said that "none of the slaughter or processing facilities implicated in the Brazilian scandal have shipped meat products to the US," adding that it has nevertheless implemented pathogen testing of all shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat products from Brazil as a precaution.

Earlier this week Brazilian investigators claimed that dodgy meatpackers were using chemicals to improve the look and smell of expired meats, and mixing rancid meat with fresh, to dupe customers. Furthermore, it has been alleged that government inspectors accepted bribes and were complicit in the scam. Some of the fraudulent meat was reportedly exported to Chile, China and Europe.

The police operation, dubbed Weak Flesh, could reduce Brazil’s meat exports, worth $13bn a year, and damage its two big global meat producers, JBS and BRF, according to a report in The Economist, which notes that the EU has restricted products from 21 suspect plants while China and Chile have imposed a blanket ban on Brazilian meat imports.

The FSIS says it will maintain its 100 per cent re-inspection and pathogen testing of all lots of food products imported from Brazil indefinitely. All beef trimmings will be tested for Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and non-O157 shiga-toxin producing E coli (STEC), while ready-to-eat food will be tested for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

"Keeping food safe for American families is our top priority," said Mike Young, acting deputy secretary of the USDA.

"FSIS has strengthened the existing safeguards that protect the American food supply as a precaution and is monitoring the Brazilian government's investigation closely."

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