Nicholson: Clarity needed on Brazilian meat imports

MEP Jim Nicholson
MEP Jim Nicholson

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has called on the European Commission to provide more clarification regarding Brazilian meat imported into the European Union, following reports alleging that Brazilian companies have been selling unsafe produce including rotten and substandard beef for years.

European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis has written to the Chair of the European Parliament Agriculture Committee to outline details of EU audits that have been underway at Brazilian slaughterhouses.

Mr Nicholson, pictured, said: “The recent meat scandal that emerged from Brazil sent shockwaves to industry and consumers worldwide.

“I welcome the clarification the Commissioner has given in his letter to the Chair of the European Parliament Agriculture Committee, regarding audits that have been taking place by EU veterinary inspectors in Brazilian slaughterhouses.

“Commissioner Andriukaitis pointed out that out of the 21 establishments under investigation for fraud in Brazil, four were previously approved for export to the EU - these four are now in the process of being de-listed in the EU, and any product en route will be refused at EU borders.

“However, I still feel the Commission has not properly got to the bottom of this. For the sake of consumer confidence we need to know how much at-risk Brazilian meat has been imported in to each EU member state.

“Furthermore, the Commission still seems intent on closing in on a free trade deal with the Mercosur bloc, which includes Brazil.

“Surely, at the very least, food safety and maintaining our high standards has to be at the top of the agenda when it comes to discussion around agricultural products during negotiations.”