Brazilian beef import ban not being ruled out, EU Health Commissioner says

Commissioner Kyprianou meets concerned MEPs

Brussels, 10th October 2007 — The European Union does have concerns about Brazilian beef and is not ruling out an import ban, Markos Kyprianou, EU Health Commissioner, told the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee this week.

Commissioner Kyprianou had been invited to the committee to discuss concerns over the standards adhered to on Brazilian farms, the recent spread of Bluetongue across Europe and the devastating Foot and Mouth outbreaks in southern England.

Conservatives told the Commissioner there was strong evidence of poor traceability and standards on a number of Brazilian farms and that the EU should take action to address the growing concerns of farmers in Britain and Ireland.

The Irish Farmers’ Association - who carried out the original ‘smoking gun’ investigation into Brazilian farms - have received evidence from senior consultant veterinary surgeon, Dr Kevin Dodd, which describes the European Commission’s assessment of the risks involved in the importation of Brazilian beef as “flawed and inadequate”.

Following the meeting, Sir Robert said:

“The Commissioner did not really get the point MEPs and farmers’ organisations have been making - that Brazilian farmers are being allowed to get away with practices that would cause a European farm to be shut down.

“The Commissioner has given Brazil until the end of the year to show significant improvements in traceability and quality control of their beef. I fear the European Commission is still allowing politics to get in the way of what should be a simple decision made on the basis of safety and equity for European farmers.

“We are fed up with being fobbed off by the Commission over this important matter. We need action sooner rather than later. I have invited the Commissioner back at the end of the year to give us an update on the actions he intends to take.”

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