War Continues Over Brazilian Beef Imports

The Irish Farmers Association has launched another attack on Brazil, re-iterating claims that beef imports from the country pose a serious foot and mouth disease threat to Europe.

The union claims that IFA findings on Brazilian traceability have now been fully vindicated, not only by the most recent report from the EU Commission Food & Veterinary office (FVO), but also by the findings of a recent visit by members of the European Parliament Agriculture Committee to Brazil.

IFA chairman Michael Doran said that the latest FVO report, which is based on an inspection last November, is damning in its criticism of Brazil and states categorically that "systemic failures were identified in relation to holding registration, animal identification and movement controls."

Neil Parish MEP, praised the quality of Brazilian beef during the European Parliament Agriculture Committee visit to Brazil earlier this month, but has since criticised the Brazilian government.

"I am not going to mince my words - some Brazilian farms are good and some not so good. However, what concerned me most was the arrogance of some Brazilian politicians, who did not seem to want to work within the rules that the EU and Brazil had jointly agreed to," he said.

"Their bullish and indifferent attitude to our concerns does a disservice to Brazil. We are not going to negotiate on this. Any meat that comes in must meet our standards.

"There can be no ifs or buts - either Brazilian beef meets our conditions or it doesn't. If it does, we will welcome it but if it doesn't, our gate will remain firmly closed".

Ireland East MEP Mairead McGuinness, who also visited Brazil, said: "I am more convinced than ever that the decision by the EU to ban Brazilian beef imports was totally justified."

Responding to this latest attack, the Brazilian Beef Information Service (BBIS) has dismissed the perceived threat of foot and mouth disease from Brazilian beef imports as a "myth" and insisted that there are no circumstances under which beef that is boned, properly matured and chilled or frozen can transmit FMD, regardless of the sanitary conditions in the country of origin.

BBIS director said: "Once this is exposed, the protectionist nature of the IFA's long-running anti-Brazilian campaign is clear.

"They don't want to see high quality, low cost beef imported into Europe because it competes too directly with Irish beef, regardless of what this means for consumers who are increasingly being priced out of the beef market as prices rise.

"The good news for consumers, is that Brazil has reiterated its commitment to meet all the regulatory requirements of the EU, which should see good quantities entering the market by the end of this year, rather than the current limited supply."

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