After 18 months of negotiations over sanitary standards, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has lifted the ban on Brazilian pork imports, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has announced.

USDA agreed to recognize Brazilian inspectors as qualified to approve slaughterhouses in the state of Santa Catarina. To date, USDA has approved six processing plants to export pork to the United States. In 2010, USDA recognized Santa Catarina as free of foot-and-mouth disease, leading to approval of the processing plants.

NPPC supports the principle of regionalization and agrees to the recognition of Santa Catarina as free of foot-and-mouth disease and other swine diseases such as Classical Swine Fever.

However, NPPC strongly believes that the United States’ trade relationship with Brazil should be a reciprocal one and that as the United States does, Brazil must maintain sanitary and phytosanitary policies that are based on sound science and legitimate health-related concerns.

NPPC continues to be concerned with and frustrated by Brazil’s unjustifiable trichinosis-related import restrictions on U.S. pork. The incidence of trichinosis in the United States – one in 300 million – and the very high level of biosecurity practiced by the U.S. pork industry proves there is no valid, science-based reason for import restrictions on U.S. pork.

In 2010, Brazil exported 726,000 tons of pork valued at $1.65 billion.