MEPs demand crackdown on Brazil beef imports

16 July 2007
MEPs today called for a crackdown on Brazilian beef imports into the EU.

The demand follows reports highlighting alleged weaknesses in Brazilianhealth controls.

The findings of the reports, by the Irish Farmers Association and Irish Farmers' Journal, were presented to parliament's agriculture committee on Monday.

The two organisations followed this up with a submission to the assembly's petitions committee calling for a ban on Brazil beef imports.

At a news conference, Scottish Nationalist Party MEP Alyn Smith pointed out that a ban is currently in place on imports from three areas of Brazil due to the presence of foot and mouth disease.Despite this, there has been no decline in the amount of Brazilian beef imported by the EU since the ban was imposed, he said.

Speaking at the same event, Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness said,

"This isprobably the single biggest issue in Ireland at present.

"It is important not only from a human health point of view but also from an ethical aspect.

"In May this year, the two Irish organisations visited numerous farms inBrazil as part of an investigation into the standards and traceability of Brazilian beef.The IFA found that traceability on the farms investigated was usuallyconjured up a few days before slaughter.None of the 15 farms on which an in-depth study was carried out had a full traceability system in place, it said."

Most of the farms placed ear tags on the cattle just a few weeks beforeslaughter.The IFA also found evidence of a number of official tags being illegally removed.

UK Tory MEP Neil Parish, chair of parliament's agriculture committee, has already called for a ban to be imposed on Brazilian beef imports into the EU.Along with Smith and McGuinness, Paraish plans to sponsor a writtendeclaration calling for an outright ban, when parliament returns inSeptember.