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U.S. beef making headway in Brazil

Challenges remain due to Brazil's complicated labeling requirements.

It has been just over one year since U.S. beef returned to the Brazilian market, following a long absence due to the December 2003 discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the U.S.

Cheyenne McEndaffer, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) technical services manager, recently traveled to Brazil and provided an update on how demand for U.S. beef is developing.

McEndaffer said Brazil opened for U.S. beef exports in the fall of 2016, but because the country has some fairly complicated plant label registration requirements, no U.S. product was shipped until the spring of 2017.

“A year later, we are shipping, but we only have about three to four approved suppliers,” she said.

McEndaffer noted that U.S. picanha (top sirloin cap) was expected to perform well in Brazil, and demand for this cut has been strong. Brazilian buyers are also interested in U.S. loins, ribs, tri-tips and livers. She joined several USMEF member companies in São Paulo, Brazil, for the APAS Supermarket Show, one of South America's largest food trade shows, to discuss these and other U.S. beef cuts with prospective customers.

“We had a few members that had booths set up within the U.S. pavilion. We took an opportunity to meet with their Brazilian offices to discuss some of the challenges of bringing product in,” she said, adding that they also met with importers who are currently buying or interested in buying to learn more about the interest.

McEndaffer said the trip additionally included efforts to learn more about import procedures for the various states and ports.

“We wanted to learn if there was a national standard or if the import procedures vary by state,” she explained. “What we found is that there are absolutely state variance, and we tried to make note of those to help our exporters be better informed and prepared.”

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