Brazilian beef exports come under EU spotlight
A delegation of Agriculture Committee MEPs will travel to Brazil today to examine what has been done so far to ensure safety of beef exports to the EU, following the tainted meat scandal.
The delegation will meet the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, federal parliamentarians and representatives of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Institute.
They will also travel to the State of Mato Grosso to meet its governor, visit cattle farms and a slaughterhouse.
Following the mission in Brazil which ends on Thursday, the delegation will draft a report, which will be presented to the Agriculture Committee during one of its future meetings.
A two-year investigation by Brazilian Federal Police into two of Brazil’s largest meat processing companies (JBS & BRF) saw raids that police claimed were prompted by evidence that some meatpackers had paid inspectors and politicians to overlook the processing of rotten meat and exports with fraudulent documentation and even traces of salmonella.
In 2017, Brazil supplied the EU with over 140,000 tonnes of beef and veal, or 42.1pc of its total bovine imports.
OECD figures report that the EU consumed almost eight million tonnes of beef and veal in 2017.
This suggests that imports from Brazil account for about 1.77pc of total EU beef and veal consumption.
Meat Industry Ireland’s Joe Ryan warned that with the EU set to be 116pc self sufficient on beef following the departure of the UK in 2019 “any tonnage figure agreed now by the Commission would not be revised downwards post-Brexit. “It is totally inappropriate to proceed with the deal at this time while so much uncertainty still exists”
He added: “If the Commission are intent on proceeding with these negotiations, it is essential that discussions around access for Mercosur must include a split between fresh and frozen, and provisions around specified end-use.”
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