Calling for a Ban on Brazilian Beef in Europe
Posted by Alan Kelly on December 10, 2009 at 08:55 PM
This week, I spoke in the European Parliament calling for a ban on the importation of Brazilian beef into the EU. There have been growing concerns over the Brazilian beef’s safety. Not alone that but Irish farmers deserve to be rewarded for their high standards and excellent quality beef. It’s totally unfair that they have to compete with beef that is not produced to the same standard and imported from Brazil. These farmers go through all regulatory controls as set down by Europe so all other beef should do the same. Consumers must also be protected from potentially diseased beef.
The latest EU Commission Food and Veterinary Office Report has revealed that Brazilian beef does not meet EU standards, with half of the holdings inspected failing to meet EU requirements of registration, traceability and movement controls.
Irish farmers fear that the cheap imports may put them out of business and this report confirms the need for a ban on beef imports from Brazil. The beef poses a threat to the safety of consumer and Irish producers should not have to compete with cheap imports which do not meet EU standards. In addition, the process by which the report was conducted showed glaring issues with the Brazilian authorities. There are many questions relating to the manner in which livestock are being transferred between farms so that they can hide from inspections. Also, the manner in which the inspections were carried out leaves a lot to be desired. It got to the ridiculous stage in that some of the inspectors were related to some of the farmers etc.
Consumers are potentially being exposed to the risk of Foot and Mouth Disease. Illegal cutting out of tags, inadequate movement controls and the use of hormone growth promoters were all evident in the report. The Food and Veterinary Office Report also identified non-existent cattle traceability. There is just too much evidence to support the view that Brazilian beef should be banned and the European Commission has to take this much more seriously now.
While the European Parliament acknowledges that Brazilian beef should be banned, the European Commission has been slow to act. I am committed to achieving this ban. This report is very worrying. The Commission cannot hold out any longer. Irish consumers and producers of beef deserve assurance that the beef they receive meets the safety standards. Any further delay is unacceptable.