‘Sanctions needed to stop Brazilian beef imports into EU’

Speaking following reports by Agriland yesterday that authorities in Brazil have closed three meat processing plants and put another 21 under scrutiny, Sinn Féin’s Spokesman on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Kenny TD, says this highlights the “shoddy standards and produce against which Irish farmers must compete”.

Also Read: Brazilian beef and poultry industry plunged into major scandal

Deputy Kenny said: “Brazil is one of Ireland’s biggest competitors for the EU beef market, but we see today that the authorities there have exposed a huge scandal in the sector.

He continued: “Reports from the BBC and New York Times are about bribery of officials, dangerous additives being used to bulk up poultry meat and salmonella-contaminated meat being exported to Europe.

“More than 30 companies are under investigation in Operation Weak Flesh, including JBS, Brazil’s largest beef exporter.

“The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, must immediately look for a halt to Brazilian beef imports to Europe. The quality of Irish beef produced from grass-fed, free-roaming cattle, bred on family farms to the highest standards, should not be forced to compete with produce from countries where standards are non-existent in comparison.

Even before this scandal the scales were weighted against Irish farmers, but now the situation is intolerable. The government must act.

“The whole situation serves to warn against international trade agreements such as CETA, which sets poor-quality cheaper produce against the unique excellence of Irish beef.”

According to reports from the New York Times, the alleged ‘scheme’ involved bribery allowing rotten meat to be served in Brazil’s public schools and salmonella-contaminated meat to be exported to Europe. It says that “bribes were channelled to the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party of President Michel Temer”.

Companies caught up in the investigation, including a number of smaller meat-packing entities, have been accused of “delivering cash bribes in plastic containers, alongside prized cuts of beef”.