The news yesterday that the European Union is delisting 20 Brazilian meat and poultry plants from its authorised EU suppliers has provoked strong farmer reaction.

The European Commission said that, for commercial reasons, it cannot share the names of the establishments before the decision is formally adopted and published in the Official Journal.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has commented on the unanimous decision taken by the member states, which comes in response to concerns relating to food safety, highlighting that the move is at odds with the ongoing Mercosur talks.

Also Read: European Commission delists 20 Brazilian meat plants

The chairperson of the ICMSA’s Livestock Committee Des Morrison said he found it difficult to believe that the European Commission was unable – or unwilling – to draw the “obvious conclusion” about the need to suspend “immediately and indefinitely” the Mercosur trade talks.

The current deal being negotiated with Mercosur – the trade bloc comprising of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – includes a considerable increase in the EU beef import quota for the South American countries, with speculation surrounding the size of this new quota – thought to be between 70,000t and 99,000t.

These negotiations, if concluded, would see a massive new surge of beef imported into the EU from this “already hugely suspect” system.

Morrison said that there is a long and established pattern of behaviour, investigations and revelations that prove that the practices of these delisted plants are far from isolated.

Instead, the chairman said that these are an “established and accepted part of the Brazilian and wider South American beef sector”.

It makes absolutely no sense to imagine that delisting these 20 factories is going to introduce the kind of systematic and “top-to-bottom” change of practices in the Brazilian beef sector, Morrison added, where any principles of sustainability or food safety are demanded.

The chairman said that the commission should suspend the Mercosur process until beef production in the trade bloc at least meets the standards that the commission insists and enforces on EU beef production.

Continuing with Mercosur in the face of the kind of evidence everyone knows about is reckless, he concluded.