MEPs seek clarifications on Brazilian beef imports

The conditions in which the beef that the EU imports from Brazil are produced gave rise to controversy between MEPs and the European Commission at a recent session in the European Parliament.             The controversy came after a report by Irish and Scottish beef farmers presented to the Agriculture Committee in the European Parliament on Monday 15th July,             Faced with differing views, Committee chairman Neil Parish would like the EU agriculture and food safety commissioners to come to Parliament in the autumn to discuss the possibility of an import ban.             Many MEPs called for an immediate and total ban on EU imports of Brazilian beef, after representatives of the Irish Farmers’ Association and Scottish Beef Cattle Association representatives presented their report. This report alleges grave deficiencies in Brazil’s tagging and traceability system and health risks for European consumers. MEPs wondered in particular why countries such as the USA, Australia and Japan have put in place precautionary embargoes, whereas the EU has not.             The European Commission questioned the report’s reliability, stressing that their many on-site inspections neither support such alarmist conclusions nor justify suspending imports. Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness said: ‘The IFA has carried out two separate investigations into the issue. Both visits revealed startling findings in relation to standards in the Brazilian beef sector, which if mirrored in the EU would be regarded as totally unacceptable.’