(Adds details on negotiations and JBS)
SAO PAULO, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Brazilian meat packer Minerva SA said in a filing on Wednesday that it had received authorization from the Agriculture Ministry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for two of its plants to begin shipping fresh beef to the United States.
Brazil has long been a major supplier of cooked beef to North America but it has been shut out of the U.S. fresh beef market. Gaining access to it was expected to open doors to other markets that are hard to enter such as Japan.
In August, Brazilian and U.S. officials finalized the exchange of food safety equivalence documents, a move that Brazil expects will increase its fresh and frozen beef exports by as much as $900 million a year to the United States.
The USDA said at the time it had determined that Brazil’s food safety system for beef was up to U.S. standards and that raw Brazilian beef could be safely imported.
Individual meat processing plants must receive authorization from Brazilian and U.S. regulators after clearing sanitary inspection, before they will be allowed to ship to the United States.
The agreement, which took years to negotiate, is expected to benefit other Brazilian beef exporters, including JBS SA , the world’s largest beef exporter. (Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr and Reese Ewing; Editing by Richard Chang)