Report raises meat import control shortcomings: IFA president

IFA president John Bryan has said a European Court of Auditors Report raises extremely serious issues regarding shortcomings in the control of meat imports and risks to EU consumers and producers.

Mr Bryan yesterday called for a full reappraisal of the EU policy on meat imports and controls. He said the EU should immediately suspend their involvement in the Mercosur negotiations until such time as a guarantee can be provided to European consumers and producers that imports fully meet EU standards.

The IFA president said the Court of Auditors report examined the Commission’s supervision of the EU system of veterinary checks carried out at the Border Inspection Posts on meat imports. The audit concluded that the implementation of the 2004 Hygiene Package has been delayed and has to be completed in important regulatory aspects.

Mr Bryan said the audit also concluded substantial reductions in the levels of import controls were accepted in some equivalence agreements established with third countries which are not supported by reasonable justifying evidence.

“These conclusions by the Court of Auditors are extremely seriously and must be taken on board by the EU Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament in any future moves by the EU to increase beef imports from South America,” Mr Bryan said

John Bryan said the IFA work in 2006 and 2007 had proved that beef imports from Brazil failed to meet the critical food safety, animal health, traceability and environmental standards required by European consumers.

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