IFA President John Bryan said the recent European Court of Auditors Report raises extremely serious issues regarding shortcomings in the control of meat imports and risks to EU consumers and producers.
John Bryan called for a full reappraisal of the EU policy on meat imports and the controls. He said the EU should immediately suspend their involvement in the Mercosur negotiations, which propose an increase in imports, until such time as a categorical guarantee can be provided to European consumers and producers that all imports fully meet EU standards.
The IFA President said the Court of Auditors report examined the Commission’s supervision of the EU system of veterinary checks carried out at the Border Inspection Posts on meat imports. The Audit concluded that the implementation of the 2004 Hygiene Package has been delayed and has still to be completed in important regulatory aspects.
John Bryan said the Audit also concluded substantial reductions in the levels of import controls were accepted in some equivalence agreements established with third countries which are not supported by reasonable justifying evidence.
The IFA leader said, “These conclusions by the Court of Auditors are extremely seriously and must be taken on board by the EU Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament in any future moves by the EU to increase beef imports from South America.”
In addition, John Bryan said the IFA work in 2006 and 2007 had proved that beef imports from Brazil failed to meet the critical food safety, animal health, traceability and environmental standards required by European consumers.