‘Brazilian meat imports should be halted until the country cleans up its act completely’

Ulster Farmers’ Union Deputy President Victor Chestnutt believes that the EU should ban the import of all Brazilian meat products with immediate effect.

“And the country should not be allowed to re-commence exports into Europe until its entire meat industry is fit-for-purpose.

“Simply licensing individual meat plants and farms isn’t good enough. Such an approach still leaves the door open for fraudulent activity.

We now know that the activities at the heart of the current scandal have been going on for at least two years. Brazil must clean up its act completely, if it wants to do business in this part of the world.

According to the European Commission, four of the meat processing businesses caught up in the Brazilian debacle had EU export accreditation.

“A piecemeal settlement with Brazil is the last thing we need. If Europe goes down this road, what’s to stop meat from an unlicensed food business having its documentation switched illegally, thereby bestowing incorrect EU or UK accreditation on to specific meat shipments,” said Chestnutt.

“Brazilian meat should be kept out of the EU until such times as the current problems are fully resolved, no matter how long this takes.

“It is vital that consumers are not put at risk by cheap imports from countries that cannot meet strict EU requirements. Brussels must not accept any level of non-compliance.”

Chestnutt added that Brazil’s ‘rotten meat’ scandal should be a good news story for the livestock sector in Northern Ireland.

“At a fundamental level, the ongoing developments in Brazil should bring home to local consumers the message that cheap food is not quality food,” he said.

The history of attempts to deliver cheap food in countries around the world has been littered with fraudulent activity of one form or another.

“What’s going on in Brazil now is just the latest in quite a long line of scandals. The horse-meat fiasco of 2013 comes immediately to mind in this regard.”