EP News Item, 16 July 2007
The conditions in which the beef that the EU imports from Brazil are produced, as set out in a report by Irish and Scottish beef farmers presented to the Agriculture Committee on Monday, gave rise to controversy between MEPs and the European Commission. Faced with widely differing views, Committee chairman Neil Parish ( EPP-ED , UK ) would like the EU agriculture and food safety commissioners come to Parliament in the autumn to discuss the possibility of an import ban.
Many MEPs called for an immediate and total ban on EU imports of Brazilian beef, after representatives of the Irish Farmers Association and Scottish Beef Cattle Association representatives presented their report. Drawn up after a visit in May 2007, this report alleges grave deficiencies in Brazil 's tagging and traceability system and health risks for European consumers. MEPs wondered in particular why countries such as the USA , Australia and Japan have put in place precautionary embargoes, whereas the EU has not.
The European Commission and the EU Food and Veterinary Office questioned the report's reliability, stressing that their many on-site inspections neither support such alarmist conclusions nor justify suspending imports. Faced with these entirely contradictory accounts, Mr Parish judged it desirable that the commissioners for agriculture Mariann Fischer Boel and food safety Markos Kyprianou should attend a future Agriculture Committee meeting in person to clarify matters.