After close consultations with Brazilian government officials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is temporarily suspending the import of processed beef and associated products from Brazil. There is no evidence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Brazil. However, USDA's policy on BSE has been proactive and preventative.

The decision is a temporary action pending the release of requested data to complete a BSE risk assessment. Once this data has been received and USDA is assured that Brazil has taken sound measures to prevent BSE, the suspension will be lifted.

Mexico and Canada have joined the United States in the temporary import ban on Brazilian beef products to avoid mad cow disease "and its deadly human variation." The ban is on all beef products from Brazil, including gravy, corned beef, gelatins and other beef products or products made with beef components.

USDA has taken stringent measures in surveillance, prevention, education and response. Import restrictions in countries known to have BSE in their cowherd have been in place since 1989 and active surveillance efforts began in 1990. USDA, along with appropriate federal health agencies, will continue to monitor and assess this situation and take any additional actions that may be necessary or appropriate.