SNP MEP Hails Immediate Total Ban On Brazilian Beef

31 January 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's powerful Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has today (Thursday) hailed news that a total ban on Brazilian beef will be implemented from this evening.

All imports from Brazil to the EU will now be halted. Mr Smith led calls within the Parliament for a total ban, drafting a formal Written Declaration calling for a ban, and facilitating the lodging by the Scottish Beef Cattle Association of a petition calling for a ban.

The surprise move follows increasing pressure from the Parliament, industry groups and consumers on the European Commission, which resulted just two weeks ago in tighter restrictions being presented to the Agriculture Committee. Those tighter restrictions were due to come into force tonight but have been superseded by a total ban after Brazil submitted a list of allegedly authorised farms which the EU authorities did not have confidence was valid or verifiable.

Those tighter rules were predicated upon the Brazilian authorities presenting a list of inspected farms which they would certify were up to EU standards. When pressed by Mr Smith Foreign Veterinary Office representatives estimated that the Brazilians could with credibility inspect about 300 farms. In the event the Brazilians presented a list of some 2,600.

Speaking from Brussels Mr Smith said:

"This news made my day. Commissioner Kyprianou has throughout this process assured me that he would not hesitate to take action if Brazil was not playing ball, and indeed he has.

"I applaud this step, which answers a call I made many many months ago over concerns that Brazil was neither respecting EU rules nor playing fair by our authorities. I think the Commission was over generous in allowing dialogue with Brazil to continue but I welcomed the tighter restrictions presented to us last fortnight as a step in the right direction.

"Even that apparently was not taken sufficiently seriously in Brasilia, and the Commission has now acted decisively.

"This is a victory for the farmers of Europe, for the European Parliament and for the European consumer.

"We must now ensure that the EU market stays shut to Brazilian imports until they can prove they meet our standards."