The latest corruption scandal consuming Brazil is particularly stomach-turning after police accused meat processors of repackaging gone-off beef, not using poultry in turkey ham and an overuse of harmful additives.
Brussels has already banned four Brazilian meat plants from exporting animal protein to Europe, but farm body Copa-Cogeca wants stronger action.
“It is not acceptable to have these kind of fraud cases emerging where export certificates have been falsified for 10 years or more and veterinary requirements not complied with,” said Copa and Cogeca secretary-general Pekka Pesonen.
“This is not the first time that the Brazilian authorities are facing fraud. Unfortunately, we have not seen sufficient corrective measures put in place. Effective action must be taken to prevent it from happening again.
“Copa and Cogeca strongly support the European Commission’s decision to reject the European veterinary certificate for meat imports from the four Brazilian sites affected by food fraud. But this decision does not go far enough to prevent such a situation from happening again. We need to recognise that the missions carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) and the controls undertaken at EU borders have been unable to detect the weaknesses in the Brazilian food safety system which have apparently being going on for more than 10 years.”
Copa-Cogeca also wants the EC to monitor the steps taken by Brazil’s authorities to make sure food fraud does not take place moving forwards. Food imports by European member states must also meet the highest safety standards that meat producers in the EU adhere to.
“Brazil’s failure to apply and monitor EU-equivalent food safety standards for meat also raises serious concerns about the ongoing trade talks between the EU and Latin American trade bloc Mercosur,” added Pesonen.
“In beef, we reiterate our calls to implement the full individual traceability scheme for cattle throughout its lifetime. We believe that this scheme is a prerequisite for the next stages of the Mercosur trade negotiations.”