Brazil beef

Calls for 'immediate' ban following scandal revelations

Calls for 'immediate' ban following scandal revelations

ICSA president Patrick Kent has said he was shocked to hear EU Commission officials admit in the European Parliament that they only found out about the Brazilian meat scandal via press reports.

Mr Kent was in attendance at a European Parliament agriculture committee meeting in Brussels when EU officials made the disclosure.

"This proves that all agricultural trade talks with Mercosur must be abandoned immediately. It is outrageous that we would continue to deal with Brazil when it is apparent that corruption around meat quality standards is endemic. Moreover, the Brazilians have shown that they are negotiating in bad faith when it was left to the press to tell the EU Commission what was going on," he said.

Mr Kent said that the ICSA was in Brussels to insist that Brazil meat imports must stop immediately and that trade talks should stop at once.

"How can EU farmers be expected to compete with such short cuts and dodgy practices?" he asked.

Mr Kent also queried whether we could have any faith in EU controls when it seems that dodgy product has come in. We have repeatedly been told that trade deals were being negotiated on the basis that our health and quality standards were being upheld. It is clear now that this is waffle when the EU is clearly not able to keep up with what they're up to down in Brazil."

Mr Kent said that he EU had been warned time and time again about the risks of South American beef imports and it was outrageous that the EU kept giving a second chance to Brazil, even when the FVO (Food and Veterinary Office) reports had continuously shown major deficiencies in Brazilian beef practices.

Mr Kent said that worst of all were the ongoing attempts to sacrifice quality EU beef production by negotiating bilateral trade deals with South American countries under the Mercosur talks.

The impact of this would be to undermine Irish and other EU beef farmers by flooding the EU with cheap, sub-standard Brazilian beef.

Meanwhile, ICMSA president, John Comer, has confirmed that at a meeting with Commissioner Hogan held in Brussels this Monday evening the Irish delegation was told that “decisive action” will follow the latest reports of another scandal involving the standards operated by Brazilian meat processors in both the beef and poultry sectors.

Commissioner Hogan assured the ICMSA delegation that the Commission was “fully aware” of the dangers presented and he promised what he termed “decisive action” aimed at reassuring both EU farmers and consumers in relation to the Brazilian revelations.

Mr Comer said the Commissioner’s reaction was welcome and no more than could reasonably be expected.

The ICMSA President said there was little point in holding our own farmers and primary producers to the highest standards when our whole system was in danger of being undermined through the importation of Brazilian products originating in the most questionable regulatory and processing circumstances.