Are Brazil’s Veterinary Drugs in Your Canned Meat?

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Darcey Rakestraw,
202-683-2467, drakestraw(at)fwwatch.org

Are Brazil’s Veterinary Drugs in Your Canned Meat?

WASHINGTON -  Yesterday national consumer group Food & Water Watch called for
an investigation into the failure of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) to take action to protect U.S. consumers from imported beef
products that could be adulterated with residues of the veterinary drug
Ivermectin.

In a letter to the Inspector General of the USDA,
the group detailed the discovery of residue contamination problems in
processed beef products from Brazil—problems so severe that in late
May, the USDA suspended processed beef imports from Brazil
entirely. But the agency has failed to call for a recall of the
products that entered the United States before the imports were halted.
Because the products in question are canned meats, they are likely
still on store shelves.

“We believe the current situation continues to show a very confusing
agency policy on recalls associated with excessive residue levels in
products it regulates,” wrote Hauter.

This specific case comes just months after an investigation by the
agency’s Inspector General revealed severe flaws in the agency’s
program for screening meat products for chemical or drug residues.

When Food & Water Watch recently asked the USDA why they have
not asked for voluntary recalls of potentially Ivermectin-tainted meat
products that they admitted may be present in the U.S. food supply,
they responded that the products in question posed a low public health
risk. However, the recent Inspector General report critiquing the
residue testing program noted that a potential health effect of
Ivermectin exposure is neurotoxicity.

Currently, the U.S. is in a very delicate trade situation with
Brazil as the government tries to avoid the imposition of retaliatory
tariffs emanating from the cotton subsidy case the Brazil won against
the U.S. at the World Trade Organization. “We sincerely hope that
sacrificing the wellbeing of U.S. consumers in not being used as a
bargaining chip in that trade dispute,” wrote Hauter.

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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