Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 February 2019

Ombudsman to investigate EU Commission on Brazilian beef

The EU Ombudsman is to investigate the EU Commission over its failure to act on several Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) reports on the low to non-existent standards prevalent in the Brazilian beef industry.

Irish members of Farmers for Fairness in Europe (FFE), the ICMSA and the ICSA lodged a complaint on behalf of all the constituent members of FFE earlier this summer.

The Commission must draft a response by November 30 and, depending on the case it makes, the Ombudsman may carry out a full investigation.

ICMSA President, Jackie Cahill, said a great deal of thought and analysis had gone into the association's preparation of the formal complaint.

"The complaint rests on two principal facts: By allowing the continuation of beef imports from Brazil, the European Commission is breaching, or ignoring, EU law with regard to standards.

And, by ignoring well-established and internationally acceptable risk assessment regarding animal health, particularly FMD, the Commission is involved in mal-administration," Mr Cahill said.

The ICMSA man said the association had drawn attention to the attitude and stance of the US and Australian governments on this matter, stating that it felt unprocessed beef imports from Brazil pose an unacceptable risk.

"We are simply asking the Ombudsman to contrast that level of competence and care against the reckless attitude being adopted by the EU Commission. This lack of concern in relation to Brazil's raging FMD problem becomes more troubling when we see the Commission demanding a standard of safety from the British government regarding its latest outbreak that they seem to have no intention of applying to Brazil.

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"The critical point, as far as ICMSA is concerned, is that the Commission will, for the first time, be required to detail the risk assessment procedures that it has carried out.

"It will not be able to hide behind WTO rules, because the US and Australian bans are totally compatible with those rules," he said.