Farm Ireland

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Major Brussels crack down on Brazilian beef and poultry imports

Photo: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg
Photo: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Farming Independent Team

All Brazilian poultry exports to Europe will be tested for conditions such as salmonella under stringent new regulations introduced by the EU Commission.

Sources in Brussels have indicated the Commission may also delist all Brazilian meat plants which were previously approved for the export of horsemeat to Europe.

The moves follow an audit of Brazilian meat plants which were undertaken last month by officials from the EU's Health and Food Safety Directorate (DG SANTE).

A report on the audit, which were prompted by the recent meat scandal that has rocked the South American state, was published yesterday.

The EU auditors found that controls in Brazil's beef plants were generally in line with the standards required by the EU. However, the Commission has tightened the approval process for plants seeking EU export accreditation.

As a result of the serious deficiencies identified in the DG SANTE audit, sources say the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis has written to the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture advising:

That all exports of poultry meat and meat products and preparations from Brazil to the EU must undergo mandatory pre-export microbiological checks, backed-up by a health certificate stating that the consignment had been sampled and analysed for various salmonella strains;

That the approval process for new meat exporting plants will be subject to audits performed by the Commission services on the spot and not by Brazilian authorities;

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That all horse meat slaughterhouses and horse exporting companies must be withdrawn from the list of processing plants eligible for export to the EU.

The DG SANTE audit identified deficiencies in supervision and control procedures in the slaughter plants visited. It found that:

The Brazilian authorities failed to ensure that all poultry meat plants approved for EU exports were under the supervision of official veterinarians prior to and during animal slaughter;

The local authorities failed to ensure that the list of slaughter plants approved for EU export was accurate and up to date;

There were inadequate traceability and drug treatment records for horses;

Meat products were certified for export to the EU despite a lack of procedures to ensure EU-eligibility of input such as animal rations.

In addition, the audit noted that there were no procedures in place to ensure that rejected meat consignments were not subsequently re-sent to the EU.

The DG SANTE report also highlighted that the ongoing Brazilian police investigation was limited to the sites implicated in the original scandal but had not been extended to associated businesses that traded with these plants.

Moreover, an issue of "particular concern" cited in the report was that most of the shortcomings detected during this audit were repeat offences that had been the subject of recommendations in previous DG SANTE checks.

Ireland has already rejected two shipments of Brazilian meat since issues arose with the country's meat plants last March. "Ireland has received two consignments from implicated establishments at Dublin Port -both were rejected," said Minister Michael Creed.

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