Mexico halts exports of beef, poultry to U.S.
The Mexican government has voluntarily halted shipments of processed beef and poultry to the United States after U.S. inspectors found inadequate sanitation and recordkeeping during an audit between June 24 and July 31.
According to an Associated Press news report, Mexico's voluntary suspension started Aug. 29.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture official told the AP on Sept. 4 that the audit report is not yet finished and would be posted on the department's Web site within the next 60 days. 'It was not known how long the suspension would last as Mexico takes steps to improve food safety,' the news service said.
Consumer advocacy group Food and Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said, 'USDA should have taken more decisive action to protect American consumers from unsafe meat imports.'
The Washington-based group said the USDA Office of Inspector General has issued two recent audit reports that question how well the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service enforces equivalency agreements with countries that are eligible to export meat and poultry products to the United States.
'To ensure American consumers are protected from unsafe imported food, clear criteria must be established and enforced to stop imports from countries whose food safety regulatory systems are dangerously inadequate,' Hauter said.
Mexico accounts for about 2 percent of beef and poultry entering the United States from abroad.