Hoeven, Klobuchar: USDA to Extend Comment Period for Proposed Rule on Beef Importation from Argentina

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Amy Klobuchar today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) will extend the comment period for its proposed rule for importing Argentine beef through December 29, 2014. Hoeven and Klobuchar wrote to USDA to encourage an extension of the comment period to ensure that the rule is properly assessed in light of previous cases of foot and mouth disease in Argentina.

“We appreciate USDA extending the comment period on their proposed rule for importing freshly chilled or frozen beef from Argentina into the United States,” said Hoeven. “It is important to ensure that all stakeholders have sufficient time to review and assess any impacts these imports may have on our livestock industry.”

“Consumers in Minnesota and across the country deserve to have complete confidence in the safety and quality of the food we eat. This extension will allow time to fully evaluate the implications of importing fresh and frozen beef from Argentina and I’m glad that the USDA has acted on our request,” said Klobuchar.

The proposed rule would allow beef from northern Argentina to be imported into the United States, which is particularly concerning to U.S. livestock groups due to Argentina’s past cases of foot and mouth disease, which affects cloven-hooved animals including cattle, sheep, bison and goats. Extending the comment period will allow greater opportunity for USDA to address concerns and to ensure herd safety in the United States.

Hoeven’s and Klobuchar’s letter is available here.