The Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA) has stated it wants beef removed from EU deals with the South American ‘Mercosur’ trading bloc, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, due to the unfolding ‘weak flesh’ meat scandal in Brazil.
The scandal is the result of a federal police investigation in Brazil, which has uncovered the alleged bribery of food-sanitation inspectors, as well as the widespread sale of rancid products and falsification of export documents.
Following lobbying in Brussels, the IFA has persuaded the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee Czeslaw Siekierski to table an oral question for the Monday, 4 April agenda on the matter of ‘how the Brazilian revelations will impact ongoing trade talks with Mercosur countries?’ and whether it is ‘now time to review bilateral negotiations and remove meat from the trade agenda?’
Angus Woods, IFA National Livestock chairman, said the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis met with the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture Blairo Maggi in Brazil last week over the weak flesh meat scandal and emphasised ‘how it did not help the Brazilian authorities to try to downplay the seriousness of the issue’.
Woods said Commissioner Andriukaitis will address the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg on the scandal. He said this is an important opportunity for Agriculture Ministers to make their views clear on Brazilian meat imports which fail to meet EU standards.
The IFA Livestock Leader also said the Brazilian weak flesh scandal is a major lesson for the EU Commission in terms of allowing imports from countries which fail to meet EU standards. “It is clear from the weak flesh scandal that the production systems in Brazil fail to meet EU standards and as a result meat imports from Brazil should not be accepted into the EU.”
None of the 21 establishments directly involved in the weak flesh scandal is now exporting to the EU.
In addition, the EU has introduced reinforced checks at points of import involving 100% physical checks and 20% microbiological checks on all Brazil meat shipments into the EU.
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