IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the mounting evidence of a lack of basic controls in the Brazilian meat industry leaves the EU with no choice but to remove Brazilian beef from the Mercosur talks.
He said, “The Brazilian Deputy Agriculture Minister has admitted there are serious flaws in their inspection system. The EU authorities cannot stand by and ignore what is emerging here. The shortcomings of the inspection system in Brazil make it clear the Brazilian authorities cannot and will not deliver on any agreements to provide beef to an EU standard. The decision by the USDA to ban fresh Brazilian beef last Friday should also put the EU authorities on high alert and force them to remove beef from any Mercosur deal”.
“Irish and European farmers will be rightly questioning how EU negotiators can continue to engage with the Mercosur countries given this decision by the USDA. The Department of Agriculture in the US has suspended all imports of fresh beef amid ‘recurring concerns’ about the food safety of the product.”
Angus Woods said the EU Commission FVO (Food and Veterinary Office) has undertaken a number of investigations on standards in Brazil and he called for these reports to be published immediately.
Mr Woods challenged the Commission on the issue of standards saying that Brazil had consistently failed to meet EU standards on the key issues of traceability, animal health and welfare controls, the ban on hormone growth promoters, and environmental controls. This is further compounded by the clearly inadequate inspection regime and systems in place at critical areas of the production, processing and certification chain.
Angus Woods said he met with the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis in Dublin recently and reiterated the IFA’s strong views on the Brazilian meat scandal. “Since the ‘Weak Flesh scandal’ story broke in the Brazilian media last March, the real story regarding the sheer extent and political involvement in the scandal and corruption is only beginning to emerge in Brazil.”