Brazilian beef back on the menu

Conservative MEP Sir Robert Atkins has urged the European Commission to step up their checks on imports of Brazilian beef after it has emerged that many farms licenced to export to the European Union are still not meeting the required traceability standards.

Two years ago the European Union placed a ban on beef coming from Brazil after the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FAO) found that there were severe deficiencies in the traceability and identification of cattle in the country. Prior to the ban over 300,000 tonnes of beef was entering the EU from Brazil.

The European Commission now operates a system of licencing individual farms for export to the EU only if they meet the required standards and over 1,000 farms now have licences. However, the EU FVO recently inspected twelve of these farms and found that six of them were still failing to meet the standards. Failings included a lack of tagging, incorrect paperwork or poor records of movements.

Sir Robert said,

“Any North West farmer will tell you that these are not minor failings, and if discovered here the farmer would be very quickly hauled up before a court. We can not afford to allow imports from a country where foot and mouth disease is widespread and which doesn’t meet the standards that we require. Brazilian farmers do not have to meet anywhere near the stringent rules that UK farmers do but they still fail to meet the watered down assurances that we ask for.

“The Commission must take its responsibilities far more seriously. Either Brazilian beef is fully traceable and fully identifiable or it shouldn’t come in. This is not about protecting our markets, but about ensuring that we know exactly where our meat has come from and provide UK farmers with a level playing field”

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