The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced Friday (23 February) that the temporary suspension on the importation of Brazilian animal products will be lifted as a result of the findings of a tripartite scientific team assessing the Brazilian regulatory system for the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

This decision was made following the receipt of extensive documentation and data from Brazil followed by an on-site validation visit by scientists from Canada, United States and Mexico.

Upon reviewing the data, the tripartite countries were 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 respective countries:

  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 the cattle used in the products were exclusively grass-fed and not fed any animal proteins.

Brazilian officials have enacted legislation requiring that all cattle imported from countries with BSE will be traced, tested at the end of their productive life and destroyed through incineration or deep burial on their premises.

Earlier this month, officials at the CFIA took the prudent and reasonable measure, supported by Health Canada, of suspending the importation of animal products from Brazil because Brazilian authorities had not demonstrated compliance with Canadian BSE policy. This action was taken to protect consumers and safeguard the country's food supply.

With the suspension lifted, and the CFIA confident that Brazil is in compliance with Canadian BSE policy, Canada will resume importing Brazilian beef products in accordance with Canada's prescribed BSE import standards.

This assessment of the Brazilian regulatory system has been completed with the diligent work of the Canadian, U.S. and Mexican scientific team and the full cooperation of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. Such efforts serve to reinforce the shared commitment and objectives for food safety, animal and plant health by these countries in an effort to contribute to the protection of consumers in all of the Americas.