EU Bans Imports of Brazilian Beef

EU - On Wednesday (30 Jan) the EU Health Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, imposed a temporary ban on all Brazilian beef imports effective from Thursday 31 January 2008, reports this weeks Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) bulletin.
calendar icon 4 February 2008
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According to a Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) bulletin, beef from cattle slaughtered prior to that date will still be permitted to enter the EU until 15 March 2008

The LMC reports that the ban was put in place because the Brazilian authorities failed to provide the EU with verifiable evidence that all 2,681 holdings that they had submitted to the ‘approved list’ met the required EU standards.

No ‘approved list’ yet

In December 2007 the EU introduced increased restrictions and controls on imports of beef from Brazil. This meant that after 31 January 2008 only beef from an ‘approved list’ of holdings in Brazil could be imported into the EU. To become an approved holding, the farm had to meet specific EU standards, most notably concerning traceability and identification. These standards also had to be guaranteed by the Brazilian authorities. To date no Brazilian holding has been added to the ‘approved list’ of eligible farms to export beef to the EU. The reason is when the Brazilian authorities submitted their list of 2,681 holdings to the EU for approval, the full reports of audits and inspections to verify their export status were not included. Therefore, the EU had no option but to place a total ban of beef imports from Brazil, albeit a temporary one. At this stage it is uncertian how long it will be before Brazilian holdings are approved, although the indications from the EU were that they could quickly start to approve holdings. While a senior EU official has stressed that the approved list is “subject to change” and “a continuous process”, it is unknown when or how many holdings will be approved.

EU imports to fall 80%

It had been estimated that up to 300 farms out of a current total of 10,000 export eligible holdings would meet the EU standards by 31 January, with others to be quickly added to this list. If 300 holdings were to be approved, EU imports of Brazilian beef could fall by approximately 80 per cent compared to last year. With a complete ban on imports from cattle slaughtered after 31 January the impact is now likely to be larger, and a sharp fall is expected towards the end of February 2008.

Brazil exports increase 5% in 2007

Brazilian fresh and frozen beef exports increased by five per cent in volume terms in 2007 to almost 1.9 million tonnes (carcase weight equivalent). Higher prices resulted in the total value of this trade rising by 11 per cent to $3,486 million (£1,751 million).

Beef imports in the EU-27 dropped by approximately one third to just over 271,000 tonnes. Comparative EU-27 imports fell significantly due to the entry of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU in 2007. In 2006 both these countries had imported large volumes of beef from Brazil, but this almost stopped due to the tariffs applied within the EU.

Next year a small rise in the total volume of Brazilian beef exports (+1%) was forecast by MLC in their December 2007 International Meat Market Review. This will depend on total production increasing, due to rising domestic demand in Brazil and the possibility of herd rebuilding in 2008.

Further Reading

       - You can view the full bulletin by clicking here (pdf).

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