IFA puts it up to EU over Brazilian beef scandal

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IFA puts it up to EU over Brazilian beef scandal

IFA National Livestock chairman Angus Woods discussing the Brazilian meat scandal with EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis and Mairead McGuinness MEP

IFA National Livestock chairman Angus Woods met the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis in Dublin and reiterated the IFA’s strong views on the Brazilian meat scandal.

“I made it very clear to Commissioner Andriukaitis that this scandal proved there are systematic failures in the controls in Brazil and the EU can no longer credibly rely on the authorities there to certify meat exports to the EU,” he said.

Mr Woods met Commissioner Andriukaitis along with Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness at a citizens dialogue meeting on health and food safety in Dublin Castle.

He said the Commissioner acknowledged the seriousness of the issues for the EU meat market and that there were major problems in Brazil.

Since the ‘Weak Flesh scandal’ story broke in the Brazilian media on March 17  this year, the real story regarding the sheer extent and political involvement is only beginning to emerge in Brazil, he said.

The IFA livestock leader said the real story and details behind this scandal have not fully emerged.

“It is incredible that the EU Commission was only made aware of the issue through media reports,” said Mr Woods. 

He said that attempts by the Brazilian authorities to try to confine the scandal to a limited number of establishments are not credible, when the reports indicate that the Government inspection and control authorities were operating fraudulently and taking bribes from processors to buy certificates.

Mr Woods said the EU Commission FVO (Food and Veterinary Office) had undertaken a number of investigations on standards in Brazil and he called for these reports to be published immediately.

He said this latest scandal and ongoing difficulties in Brazil point to a systematic breakdown of standards and controls.

Based on previous FVO reports and the work of the IFA / Irish Farmers Journal investigation in 2006 / 2007, the EU Commission was fully aware of the failure of the Brazil authorities to meet EU standards, said Mr Woods

He said the EU Commission must withdraw from trade talks with Mercosur while this investigation in Brazil is ongoing.

“Standards and controls have to be at the centre of any trade discussions. The EU Commission cannot stand over negotiations with the Mercosur group against the backdrop of the very serious issues raised in Brazil,” he said. The latest developments also highlight the need for a strong policy on standards in the context of Brexit.

“In the IFA policy document on Brexit we have set out very clearly the need for equivalent standards on food safety, animal health, welfare and the environment and the need for the application of the Common External Tariff for imports to both the EU and UK,” said Mr Woods.