Brazil seeks meeting with USDA chief to discuss beef ban

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian government has requested a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to discuss a ban imposed on the country’s fresh beef, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said on Friday.

The meeting, which may take place on July 17, is part of Brazil’s efforts to regain access to the U.S. market after a ban imposed in June. The U.S. claimed shipments failed sanitary inspections.

The minister confirmed Brazilian officials will start the mission to discuss the ban in the United States on July 13.

The Brazilian government is conducting an investigation into vaccines used against Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) after they were linked to abscesses on carcasses.

Brazil, the world’s largest beef exporter, is the only FMD-free country, with vaccination, which is authorized to sell to the United States.

The abscesses on carcasses, which Brazilian ranchers blame on the government mandating that they inject cattle with vaccines, may also be linked to certain substances in the vaccines.

“We are mapping out the entire country through our regional offices to identify potential issues,” Maggi said about the ongoing probe.

Sindan, an industry group representing makers of veterinary medical products in Brazil, said “it is very unlikely” the abscesses are being caused by the vaccines.

Ourofino Saúde Animal, a Brazil-based vaccine supplier, said production follows Brazilian regulatory requirements, adding the government tests 100 percent of the doses.

Reporting by José Roberto Gomes, writing by Ana Mano; editing by Bill Rigby and Marguerita Choy