Brazilian beef back in the dock as MEPs highlight traceability issues
Renewed doubts about traceability and sanitary standards in the Brazilian beef industry have been raised in a new report from the European Parliament (EP) Agriculture Committee.
The findings look set to deal another blow to the already faltering negotiations on a trade deal between the EU and the Mercosur bloc of South American nations which import over €40bn of EU produce per annum.
MEPs travelled to Brazil's main beef producing regions last month and their report highlights concerns about slaughtering standards.
"It became clear that Brazil does not have the same standards as EU producers," states the report.
"Unlike in Europe, where slaughterhouses are required to keep records of each individual animal slaughtered, this was not the case (in the slaughterhouse visited) where records are only kept of animals slaughtered in lots. As a result, while they can trace a batch of meat to one or more slaughter points in a single day, the meat cannot be traced back to the individual farm from where the animal originated."
Brazil is looking to export up to 100,000 tonnes of its beef to Europe under the proposed trade deal.
This is seen as a key bargaining chip which in return would enable Europe's big car producers gain tariff-free access to South American markets.
However, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has stated that Brazilian beef must meet EU standards before it can form part of any deal.