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Senate Resolution Blocks Paraguay Beef Imports

The Nebraska Examiner’s Jacob Fischler reported this past week that “the U.S. Senate easily passed a resolution Thursday to repeal a Biden administration rule allowing for beef to be imported from Paraguay.”

“The resolution targets a final rule the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service issued in November that allowed for importation of Paraguayan beef that met certain conditions, including that foot-and-mouth disease had not been diagnosed in the region for at least a year,” Fischler reported. “Until then, the U.S. had not allowed Paraguayan beef imports since 1997.”

Allowing Beef Imports

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said in November 2023 that they were “publishing a final rule that will allow the importation of fresh beef from Paraguay. APHIS conducted a risk analysis and concluded that fresh beef can be imported safely from Paraguay under certain conditions.”

“These conditions include verifying that: Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has not been diagnosed in the exporting region in the past 12 months, the meat comes from premises where FMD has not been present during the lifetime of any of the animals, and the animals were inspected before and after death, among others,” according to APHIS.

APHIS wrote that “these measures are consistent with the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, which governs, among other things, trade in animal products. As further detailed in the final rule, fresh (chilled or frozen) deboned beef will be eligible for import, and APHIS expect beef imports to fewer than 6500 metric tons annually, in part due to a quota Paraguay faces on beef exports to the United States.”

Why They Resolution Was Filed

Meat & Poultry’s Ryan McCarthy reported Friday that “Rounds and Tester filed the initial legislation in December 2023. The senators called on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to collect more up-to-date data before resuming beef imports from a country like Paraguay with a recent history of foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks.”

Fischler reported that “the U.S. last had a reported case in 1929, but other countries have seen more recent outbreaks. Paraguay reported an outbreak in 2012.”

Rounds and Tester “each took to the Senate floor Thursday to advocate for the measure,” according to Fischler’s reporting. “Though the risk of foot-and-mouth disease may be low, the effects of just one outbreak would be disastrous for beef producers, Tester said.”

“’The truth is the administration butchered this decision,’ Tester said,” according to Fischler. “’I have serious concerns that Paraguay does not currently meet the animal health standards that are in place to award access to our markets.’”

“’American producers work tirelessly to produce the safest, highest-quality and most affordable beef in the entire world,’ Rounds said,” according to Fischler. “‘Our consumers should be able to confidently feed their families beef that has met the rigorous standards required within the United States.’ A similar resolution has been introduced in the House by Rep. Ronny Jackson, a Texas Republican.”

Fischler reported that “President Joe Biden’s administration opposed the congressional resolution, saying the USDA had gone through a robust review process and determined Paraguayan imports were low risk. In a statement of administration policy, the White House said the rule would have minimal effect on domestic beef production and that overturning it would harm relations with Paraguay.”

Ryan Hanrahan is the Farm Policy News editor and social media director for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked in local news, primarily as an agriculture journalist in the American West. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri (B.S. Science & Agricultural Journalism). He can be reached at

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