NCBA reacts to audit of Brazil meat inspectionThe National Cattleman’s Beef Association says it is “extremely disappointed” with the results of the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service’s final audit report conducted on Brazil’s meat inspection system.

The audit was conducted in the early months of 2013 and released this past April. However, the NCBA is criticizing the release of the report which fell days before the comment period closed on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s proposed rule to allow the importation of fresh and frozen beef from 14 states in Brazil.

“In early March, NCBA formally requested through a Freedom of Information Act request, all pertinent documents, including a final 2013 FSIS audit report for Brazil,” says Bob McCan, NCBA president. “This report was available prior to the comment deadline, but the failure by FSIS to provide it, shows a complete lack of preparation of the documents the US cattle industry would need in order to make informed and meaningful comments.”

The association has since submitted comments to the USDA and requested a time extension to review everything related to the proposed rule.

The final audit report found that Brazil’s inspection system is performing on an “adequate” level of maintaining equivalence to US food safety standards. The audit categorizes equivalent countries into three performance categories: adequate, average and well performing.

According to the report, Brazil’s standards in meeting HACCP requirements, sanitation requirements, and ready-to-eat verification program among others, did not meet US standards.