The study reviews the literature on global chain governance and food standards to allow for an assessment of Brazilian beef exports to the European Union. The empirical approach employed is based on company case studies. The results suggest that the Brazilian beef chain has little choice but to adapt to market changes as standards evolve. Costs of compliance for meeting international food standards reduce Brazil's comparative advantage. At the same time, changes in the nature of demand have created the need for a more integrated supply chain in order to enhance confidence in Brazil's beef production and processing abroad.