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MEP Warns EU of Brazilian Beef Dangers

07 July 2008

UK - As Brazilian beef begins to crawl its way back in to the European market Conservative MEP, Neil Parish, warns that Europe must keep up the pressure on beef production systems in order to improve food safety.

The former Somerset farmer, who now chairs the European Parliament's agriculture committee, has called on the European Commission to be very cautious about allowing the resumption of widespread imports of beef from Brazil, reports RedOrbit.

The EC banned Brazilian beef in February, following damning reports on production systems by both the Irish Farmers Association and the EU Food and Veterinary Office.

Mr Parish then led a delegation to see for himself whether the deficiencies that led to the ban, such as a lack of ear tags and an effective system of traceability for cattle, still existed in farms hoping to be allowed to export again to the EU.

According to RedOrbit Brazil has between 180 million and 200 million cattle in Brazil - twice the number in the entire EU - and before February's ban was exporting 300,000 tonnes of beef to Europe every year. That has been slashed to about 100 tonnes a month from the 95 farms now licensed to export to the EU.

But EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fisher Boel has warned the industry that if the Doha Round of World Trade Organisation talks finally brings an agreement this summer, import tariffs on Brazilian beef may be cut by up to 70 per cent.

  • View the RedOrbit story by clicking here.
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