EU Strangles Supply of Tainted Brazilian Beef

EU - The Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) has agreed to increase the current restrictions on Brazilian beef imports into Europe.
calendar icon 20 December 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

The announcement came after much controversy over where exactly the beef was being sourced , believed by most to have a supply leaking from areas ravaged by Foot and Mouth Disease.

The Member States have agreed that, from 31 January 2008, beef will only be allowed to be imported from an approved and restricted list of holdings in Brazil which are fully in line with EU import requirements and which meet strict criteria. It is estimated that imports from 97% of beef units in Brazil will be banned.

The decision follows the most recent FVO inspection in November 2007, which identified a number of serious and repeated deficiencies in Brazil's animal health and traceability systems. The Commission has announced that it feels it is necessary to increase the restrictions on Brazilian beef imports in order to maintain a high level of protection for animal health in the EU, while avoiding the alternative of an outright ban.

Speaking from Brussels, the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) President Padraig Walshe said that only an outright ban will fully safeguard the European Union from the risk of Foot and Mouth Disease from Brazilian beef imports. However he said the restrictions decided upon for Brazil, particularly the requirement that all holdings for export to the EU must be approved and listed publicly, is a significant step forward.


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"FMD is endemic in Brazil and I remain convinced that only a total ban would properly safeguard the European herd."
IFA National Livestock Chairman, John Bryan.

Over the last two years, the IFA campaign has highlighting the failure of Brazil to meet EU standards. Now the Commission have admitted that they have ‘identified serious instances of non compliance with regard to holding registration, animal identification and movement controls and a failure to respect their previous commitments to take the appropriate corrective measures’.

John Bryan, who travelled on both IFA missions to Brazil, said “FMD is endemic in Brazil and I remain convinced that only a total ban would properly safeguard the European herd. Previous attempts to regulate Brazilian beef imports into Europe have fallen down due to a lack of traceability and movement controls, ineffective vaccination against FMD and Brazil’s inability to enforce a proper regionalisation policy to contain FMD. ”

The move has also been praised by the UK National Farmers Union (NFU) President Peter Kendall, who wrote to EU Commissioner Markos Kyprianou calling for a total ban on Brazilian beef some time ago.

"The NFU was among several of the European farming organisations that have been calling for a ban. Earlier this week I wrote to the Commissioner urging him to ban Brazilian beef imports after a failure to respect its previous commitment to take corrective measures", said Mr Kendall.

"While our preferred outcome would have been a total ban, this decision goes a long way to addressing the unfairness of the current situation, where one of our main competitors is allowed to operate to lower standards than those expected by European producers, and will also provide further safeguards for consumers."

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