The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in February that it is lifting the temporary hold on imports of processed beef and associated products from Brazil. This decision was made following a site visit to Brazil by animal health officials, who were able to review and analyze requested data to complete a bovine spongiform encephalopathy risk assessment.

Upon reviewing this data, USDA was assured that Brazil has taken sound measures to prevent BSE and that the suspension on imports should be lifted. There are three conditions that imports of Brazilian beef products must meet to enter the United States to ensure the safety of U.S. livestock:

1) Shipments must be certified as containing beef products from cattle that were born and raised in Brazil and not from any imported sources of beef;

2) The beef must come from cattle born after Brazil enacted its 1996 ruminant﷓to﷓ruminant feed ban; and

3) Shipments must have a statement accompanying them that certify that the cattle used in the products were exclusively grass﷓fed and not fed any animal proteins.

USDA, along with appropriate federal health agencies, has determined that there is no risk of BSE introduction associated with the import of Brazilian beef and beef products under the above conditions. There is no evidence of BSE in Brazil. Imports are to resume immediately.

In announcing the decision, Secretary Ann M. Veneman said, "USDA pledged to work expeditiously to resolve this issue. The Brazilian government has been very cooperative in this effort and we are pleased to announce this decision today."