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Stackyard News Sep 06

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    Relaxed monitoring of beef imports from Brazil causes concern

The National Beef Association has asked the European Commission to explain why its animal health department, DG Sanco, is prepared to be more lenient towards beef from Brazil compared with deliveries from other importing countries.

beef cattle

And has also requested detailed and specific assurances that DG Sanco is already in the process of strengthening its approach towards cattle traceability, FMD control, pre-slaughter welfare standards, and journey times to slaughter premises in Brazil.

“The Commission’s relaxed monitoring of steroid, other hormone residues, and veterinary medicine controls relating to Brazilian beef is a very good example of the favours allowed to Brazil which are driving the NBA’s continued complaints,” explained the Association’s chief executive, Robert Forster.

“The anti-residue and veterinary medicine check ups quite rightly demanded of beef entering the EU from the United States are measurably more stringent than those required of Brazil and we have asked for an explanation that covers the Commission’s reason for accepting these lower standards.”

“It is clear that while the US has to prove the beef it delivers is hormone implant free, and backs this with a declaration on paperwork which is regularly screened by EU monitors, that beef from Brazil is not subjected to the same procedures and the screening that does take place falls well short of being as comprehensive as the volumes of beef imported from Brazil, where banned steroids are clearly still in use in some locations, demand.”

The NBA has also asked the Commission if it is satisfied there is no feeding of banned SRM in the increasing number of Brazilian feedlots that have been built closer to coastal abattoirs.

And that the journey times of slaughter animals transported out of the Brazilian hinterland for export meet EU standards and are being monitored for abuse.

“On top of this we would like proof that anti-FMD control zones installed following demands from the European Commission are correctly monitored and no animals are leaving these zones to be slaughtered in export approved abattoirs in non-FMD zones,” said Mr Forster.

“We need to know whether Brazil’s border controls, particularly with Paraguay, are stock proof and that the Commission is certain that no Paraguayan cattle are able to enter Brazil and be offered as Brazilian animals to export buyers.”

“Details of the Brazilian response to the request, following the FVO mission in 2002, that all export cattle would be ear tagged for at least 90 days before slaughter are required as well and we want to know if the promise to extend tagging requirements to cover birth to death by 2006, as is required of other importing countries like the US, has been honoured too.”

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National Beef Association