Marchant tyrell
Editor / Progressive Cattle

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published a final rule on Nov. 13 that allows the importation of fresh beef from Paraguay. The rule officially goes into effect 30 days after publication. APHIS conducted a risk analysis and ultimately decided 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.
  • The animals were inspected before and after death.

The USDA says these measures are consistent with the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, which governs international animal product trade. Fresh (chilled or frozen) deboned beef will be eligible for import into the U.S. An APHIS statement said the agency expects imports of fewer than 6,500 metric tons of beef annually, in part due to a quota Paraguay faces on beef exports to the U.S.

During the public comment period earlier in 2023, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) expressed strong opposition to allowing Paraguayan beef into the U.S. In its comments, NCBA specifically cited Paraguay’s history of FMD, the country’s potential inability to enact stringent safeguards against the disease, and what it views as outdated information APHIS is working with based on site visits to Paraguay in 2008 and 2014.


“Paraguay has a history of FMD outbreaks, and it is unclear if their inspection system can provide an equivalent level of safety for animal health to prevent a possible FMD outbreak on U.S. soil,” said NCBA executive director of government affairs, Kent Bacus, in a statement.