Irish favour a ban on Brazil imports

Irish farmers are still hoping for a ban on Brazilian beef imports to the EU despite being given short shrift by EU food safety commissioner Markos Kyprianou when they visited Brussels to lobby for a ban.

Kyprianou dismissed a report by the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), which calls for a ban of Brazilian beef, as "misleading" and "based on incorrect interpretation of EU requirements".

Padraig Walshe, president of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) accused the EU of operating a system of double standards on beef traceability and attacked Irish farming minister, Mary Coughlan, for not supporting a ban on Brazilian beef.

He told her Brazilian imports would "destroy our industry" and said that farmers would hold her responsible.

The IFA report into the Brazilian beef industry, which was compiled after a delegation of Irish farmers visited Brazil in May, claims there is poor traceability, inadequate border controls and a lack of FMD controls.

The IFA secured support for a ban from the Agriculture Committee at the European Parliament and is hopeful MEPs will use their influence to get a European Commission ban.

But Kyprianou accused the IFA mission of visiting states in Brazil that do not export meat to the EU. He also said the report does not describe visits to slaughterhouses, veterinary offices or certifying bodies and therefore does not assess the full system of controls and safeguards available in the country.

The European Commission is not expected to decide on a ban until the Commission's food and veterinary office (FVO) carries out further inspections later this year.

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