Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has met with representatives from the UFU to discuss the findings of a recent visit to Brazil by a delegation from the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee.
The delegation travelled to Brazil to investigate food safety standards. The visit was conducted against the backdrop of on-going trade negotiations between the EU and Mercosur bloc of South American countries.
The MEP met with new UFU President Ivor Ferguson, UFU beef and lamb chairman Sam Chesney, UFU hill farming chairman John Kennedy and UFU Policy Officer Daryl McLaughlin to discuss the fact-finding visit.
Commenting Mr Nicholson said: “Throughout the EU/Mercosur trade negotiations I have consistently raised concerns about the impact an additional influx of beef from the South American bloc will have on the European market and on Northern Ireland’s farmers.
“Only last year the so-called Brazilian rotten meat scandal - where a number of companies were found to have exported contaminated meat - hit the headlines.
“Following my recent trip to Brazil it is clear that there continues to be issues regarding controls and traceability standards in the country’s food supply chain.
“As negotiations with Mercosur continue it is absolutely vital that the European Commission defends sensitive EU agricultural sectors, particularly beef and poultry. Local agriculture is too important to be used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations.”