Farmers hail beef ban

There has been a warm welcome in Co.  Roscommon at the news that the European Commission has announced a total ban on Brazilian beef imports into Ireland.   The ban was announced yesterday (Wednesday) and comes into operation from tomorrow (Friday). The IFA and other farm groups have expressed their delight at the news.   Speaking to The Roscommon People on Wednesday night IFA Livestock spokesperson in Roscommon Mr. Jimmy Gleeson said that the ban is very good news for farmers in Roscommon and throughout the country.   ‘This is very good news and long-awaited. We (IFA) have campaigned for this for the past two and a half years and thankfully the campaign has finally paid off. It was very evident that the standards of animal health in Brazil fell way below what is required in the EU and the lack of control on things like foot and mouth disease was simply unacceptable’ he said.    The ban will probably lead to a sharp rise in the price of beef as 330,000 tons of Brazilian beef was imported into Ireland last year. ‘There might be a rise in prices but at this is good news for the connsumer too as the beef that the consumer will be eating will be totally traceable’ said Mr. Gleeson.   ‘This is a very good day for farmers in Roscommon and throughout Ireland’ he concluded.    The ban is a result of the apparent failure of the Brazilian authorities to provide a credible list of beef farms which would meet traceability and consumer health concerns.   EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said Brussels had given the Brazilian authorities ‘many opportunities’ to solve weaknesses identified in their export system.    Welcoming the ban Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins said that it still does not represent a solution to the Brazilian beef problem.  In a statement Mr. Higgins said "When the IFA several months ago issued the findings of its inspection tour of Brazilian farms the findings were scoffed at by the EU Health Commissioner Kyprianou. However, when the EU’s own food and veterinary officials carried out their farm inspections several weeks later they had to concede that they found many irregularities which have led to the current total temporary importation ban.  "I am firmly of the belief that the total ban should stay in place until such time as the EU has its own permanent Food and Veterinary office based in Brazil in order to carry out regular farm inspections so as to ensure that the same high standards apply for Brazilian farmers as those demanded from our own EU farmers." he said.   Meanwhile ICSA president Malcolm Thompson has also welcomed the ban.   ‘ICSA has always maintained that restrictions were inadequate and nothing but a full ban was ever going to be enough, until the Brazilians produce beef to EU standards.’