Brazilian beef scandal to be raised in European Parliment this week

The Chairman of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, Czeslaw Siekierski, has tabled an oral question for the plenary agenda in Strasbourg this afternoon on ‘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?’

IFA National Livestock Chairman, Angus Woods, said that his organisation has lobbied strongly on this issue in Brussels over the last two weeks.

Woods 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 Operation Weak Flesh meat scandal and emphasised that it “did not help the Brazilian authorities to try to downplay the seriousness of the issue”.

He said Commissioner Andriukaitis will address the Agriculture and Fisheries Council (Luxembourg) today on the “meat fraud” in Brazil. He added that it is an important opportunity for Agriculture Ministers to make their views clear on Brazilian meat imports, which fail to meet EU standards, and also on strict EU Commission controls.

Woods said: “The EU Commission has confirmed that none of the 21 establishments directly involved in Operation Weak Flesh are 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.

The IFA National Livestock Chairman said the Brazilian 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 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,” he explained.

He concluded that the Brazilian scandal should be regarded as a major setback for Mercosur talks and further access for Brazilian exports to the EU.