Retailers will be challenged by the NFU to prove their beef sourcing
credentials at the Royal Show this year.
About 80% of all cattle in Brazil are based on tropics-friendly Nelore (zebu-type) genetics.
Thomas Binns, NFU livestock board chairman, will be using the
show to question the major supermarkets over their policy on imported
This follows a recent report from an inspection of production
facilities in Brazil carried out by the EU’s Food and Veterinary
Organisation (FVO) which identified serious shortcomings in beef,
lamb, pigs, poultry and honey production standards.
UK supermarkets have made much of their commitment only to stock
imported meat products that conform to UK standards of quality
assurance and traceability.
But in the light of this report, which raises serious questions
about standards in Brazil, the NFU is looking for guarantees from
the supermarkets as to the standards and safeguards that are in
The NFU has also written to the EU Commissioner responsible for
Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kyprianou.
The letter asks why the EU has not followed the example of other
countries, such as the USA and Australia, and introduced an outright
ban on Brazilian beef, especially in view of the risk of importing
foot and mouth disease.
Thomas Binns said: “Importing animal products from Brazil
poses a threat to the UK’s animal health status. We’re
still very concerned about the shortcomings in the management of
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Brazil and the absence of animal
identification systems as reported by the Commission after an official
mission to Brazil in September last year.
“We’re still seeking assurances from the European
Commission about the measures implemented to prevent FMD entering
Europe and that fresh beef from Brazil is not placing the EU at
an unnecessary risk. In the meantime we believe the Commission
should urgently reconsider adopting stronger measures to prevent
the import of animal products from Brazil which do not meet EU
“Against this background, it is worrying that some UK supermarkets
continue to stock a product which does not adhere to the strict
standards of production we expect in the UK. This is why I will
be having honest and direct conversations with all British retailers
to make sure they understand the implications of stocking Brazilian
beef. British consumers should not be able to buy products which
do not meet with EU regulations.”
The NFU met with Asda in June to discuss the retailer’s
stocking of Brazilian beef which did not meet with British standards
of farm assurance or traceability. Asda recalled the product after
listening to the NFU’s concerns.
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