EU long-finger ban of Brazilian beef

Despite a new report from the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) published last week on the Brazilian Beef industry, the EU and the Agriculture Minister continue to postpone any decision on restrictions on its import into Ireland, claims local TD Denis Naughten. ‘Not only do the Irish Government and the EU Commission continue to allow Brazilian beef to be imported even though there have been numerous damning reports on the Brazilian meat industry highlighting risks to human and animal health, but they are actually defending its importation,’ stated Deputy Naughten. ‘Our own Minister earlier this year described Brazilian beef as perfectly safe and blatantly undermined the IFA report on serious food safety practices in Brazil. Every year Ireland consumes €17 million worth of beef, or 5,766 tonnes, the majority of which comes from Brazil. Irish people are being conned into consuming Brazilian beef which they believe is produced locally. We now know that the quality of Brazilian beef is far inferior to that of Irish beef and recent inspections of slaughterhouses in that country uncovered a litany of breaches of health and safety regulations, putting us directly at risk. ‘Over the last number of years the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) has monitored the Brazilian Beef Industry on behalf of the EU Commission. Last week’s report highlighted failures in the system such as: The Brazilian State Veterinary Service had no systematic audit system for animal health and no criteria for such an audit established, cold stores in ports dealing with beef destined for Europe were not audited, there was a lack of adequately trained staff in the State Veterinary Service, the 90-day residence rule on cattle destined for the EU was regularly broken. It also found insufficient protection against rodents and insects by food business operators and operation hygiene could not be fully guaranteed. Deputy Naughten added: ‘Previous reports by the FVO expressed concerns that veterinary products, including hormones like clenbuterol (angel dust), are freely available on the market. As a result, widespread use without veterinary prescription cannot be ruled out. Furthermore, the traceability of exported products required by EU law cannot be guaranteed.  ‘We should not accept meat imports from countries which have been found to be sub-standard. Any similar doubts over Irish meat would spark a national emergency and this meat would not be permitted to remain on our supermarket shelves,’ concluded Denis Naughten.