In Brazil, Bush Will Be Eating Beef the US Has Banned

Despite the outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in several Brazilian southern states, which prompted over 40 countries to temporarily ban beef imports from the world’s largest exporter, Brazil will be honoring visiting United States president with a typical South American barbecue.

President Bush is scheduled to visit Brazil early next month following the Americas summit in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and President Lula da Silva has already anticipated that the distinguished leader, and Texan, will enjoy a display of "gaúcho" culinary barbecue art when in Brasí­lia.

At least 14 FAM outbreaks have been officially reported in five states, including São Paulo, which have dealt a mighty blow to the powerful Brazilian meat industry with exports well over US$ 3 billion annually.

Trade and Industry Minister Luiz Fernando Furlan said Brazilian authorities will take advantage of the occasion to insist on the United States, the world’s largest market for beef, to further open to the Brazilian product.

Restrictions on imports of Brazilian beef to the U.S. continue precisely because of the foot-and-mouth issue.

"Our main salesman is Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and he is going to serve President Bush products that are not on the table of U.S. consumers", Furlan is quoted Thursday in the daily Folha de S. Paulo.

At least 45 countries have imposed partial or complete bans on Brazilian beef imports since the outbreaks earlier this month.

Neighboring Argentina, fearing the quick spread of FAM, declared this week a state of sanitary alert and set up a strict network of sanitary controls along the Brazilian frontier with the support from Customs and armed border patrol guards.

"All unmarked, uncertified, undocumented cattle will be retained and sacrificed", said Commander Carlos Alberto Lopez, head of the Argentine Gendarmeria (Border Guard).

"All vehicles are fumigated, cargoes checked and any meat products confiscated and destroyed; we’re not running any risks", said Rodolfo Castello head of the regional Argentine Food and Livestock Sanitary Department.

The Argentine province of Misiones, which borders with Mato Grosso do Sul, where the first outbreaks were reported has half a million head of cattle and approximately 200 kilometers of "dry" frontier.

In Brazil, Agriculture Minister Rodrigo Rodrigues tried to downplay the extent of the FAM situation arguing that the original farm where the outbreak started has been clearly identified "and we are now involved in eliminating the ramifications".

The problem is that some of the cattle which where in contact with FAM infected animals where sent to a regional livestock show and from there auctioned to other farms in different states.

This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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