(Reuters) U.S. authorities have cleared certain areas of Brazil, allowing the importation of fresh beef and pork from the country into the United States. Specifically, the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil’s largest pork producing area, now has access to the U.S. market.
The change in U.S. policy toward Brazilian meat exports is likely to open other lucrative foreign markets to the country, such Asia. It will improve the revenues of large Brazilian meat companies, Santa Catarina producers said.
U.S. inspectors are expected to visit meat-processing plants in the southern state in the near future, after which they would issue clearance to individual plants and exporters to ship meat to the United States.
"Now they will have to clear each plant. It's a case-by-case process," says the head of Abipecs, Pedro de Camargo Neto, adding that Brazilian pork ribs and bacon should be competitive on the U.S. market.
Brazilian meat companies such as Brasil Foods, Marfrig and potentially JBS are likely to benefit directly from this change in U.S. policy.
Camargo Neto says the U.S. decision would not prompt a surge in meat exports. A more important effect would be the opening of other markets to fresh Brazilian meat, such as Japan and South Korea, which respect the U.S. inspection service.
"This indirectly helps too, giving credibility to Santa Catarina meats," Camargo Neto says.
The U.S. Federal Register on Tuesday published the decision to allow fresh meat imports from the state, which is recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health as free of foot-and-mouth disease without vaccination.