China issues warning on Brazilian beef imports

China has warned that it will take the necessary steps if it finds food safety issues in meat imports from Brazil.

It is the latest country to intensify inspections of meat imports from Brazil, the world’s biggest red meat and poultry exporter.

The US halted imports of fresh Brazilian beef last month after a high percentage of shipments failed to pass safety checks. 

China destroyed or returned over 350 tonnes of Brazilian meat in May after some imports did not pass inspection and quarantine and did not have proper labelling.

Canada and the EU also confirmed they have rejected some shipments of Brazilian beef in recent months.

Brazil’s agriculture ministry has said the problems found in its beef exports to the US were only reactions of animals when getting vaccines.

Farm lobby groups on Ireland have long questioned the ability of the Mercosur countries — Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela and Uruguay — to meet EU standards.

Irish Farmers Association’s Livestock Committee chairman Angus Woods said the mounting evidence of a lack of basic controls in the Brazilian meat industry leaves the EU with no choice but to remove beef from trade talks with the Mercosur group of South American countries.

Saying the EU cannot ignore what is emerging, he said Brazil had consistently failed to meet EU standards.

These relate to the key issues of traceability, animal health and welfare controls, the ban on hormone growth promoters, and environmental controls.

He said this is further compounded by Brazil’s clearly inadequate inspection regime and systems at critical areas of the production, processing and certification chain.

Ulster Farmers Union president Barclay Bell said it is wrong for the commission to press ahead with attempts to secure a free trade deal with the Mercosur countries when there is a big question over the fitness of one of the key players to export food.

“We agree with other farm lobby organisations that these talks should be delayed until that is resolved,” he said.

Mr Bell said nothing had emerged from the commission or in Brazil to alter his view that a full scale ban on imports of Brazilian beef to Europe should be implemented immediately.

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