Ulster Farmers’ Union president, Barclay Bell, has said Brazilian meat imports into Europe should be blocked. This followed allegations of corruption and the sale of sub-standard meat from Brazil.
“I am shocked that Brazilian meat processors allegedly sold this meat, some of which was treated with carcinogenic products. It’s disturbing to hear that this been happening for some time and that processors may have bribed government officials to secure hygiene certificates for this meat,” said Bell.
The UFU president said this went against everything farmers here work to achieve, in terms of producing meat to the highest quality standards. “This underlines the importance of consumers putting their trust in food sourced from farms in the UK, produced to world-leading quality and traceability standards,” said Bell. He added that the response by the EU should be an immediate trade ban, to protect consumers while investigations continue.
These claims emerged as trade discussions take place between the EU and the Mercosur countries of South America. The UFU said that with the UK seeking post-Brexit trade deals, reports of meat being sold on the back of bribes underline the need for protection from imports produced to standards far below UK and EU standards.
“It is of critical importance that politicians in Belfast, London and Brussels raise with trade officials the concerns of the farming industry has about these reports from Brazil. We cannot accept that our industry, or consumers, are put at risk by imports from countries where serious allegations have been made of fraud and corruption in their food industry,” warned Bell.
The NFU has highlighted the importance of securing trade deals which uphold the high standards of British food production amid allegations1 that Brazil’s biggest meat processors have been selling rotten poultry and beef for years.
Post-Brexit, it says, it is vital that trade deals which involve importing food products from other countries, such as Brazil, do not undermine this.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “Trade is an incredibly important issue for the future of British food in this country and for the people who produce it.
“News that the world’s largest red meat exporter could be involved in exporting rotten meat shows how important it is to have a secure and safe source of food in the UK.
“We have some of the highest animal welfare and environmental standards in the world. Food produced in this country is traceable and how it’s produced is independently audited by assured schemes like the Red Tractor.
“Trade agreements with countries across the globe must be balanced – with the same conditions applying to food imports and exports. Protecting the standards adhered to by British farmers and the transparency across the supply chain is essential for the public who want to buy safe and traceable food.
“Independent surveys show that 86% of shoppers want to buy more British food. This demand can be met by Britain’s farmers. But any trade deal entered into post-Brexit must ensure farming can be profitable, competitive and productive.”