Written answers

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Department of Agriculture and Food

Beef Quality Assurance Scheme

10:00 pm

Photo of John O'MahonyJohn O'Mahony (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Question 665: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food her views on the findings of an IFA study group that visited Brazil some weeks ago and which discovered major irregularities in Brazilian beef production; the steps she proposes to take to deal with the importation of large quantities of Brazilian beef to EU Member States; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20742/07]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Minister, Department of Agriculture and Food; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I brought the IFA report to the attention of Mr Markos Kyprianou Commissioner for Health some time ago. I received a detailed response and assessment from the Commission. While I fully accept the Commission's reassurance that all appropriate measures would be taken to protect EU consumers, I have noted that certain deficiencies highlighted by the IFA were recognised by the EU Food and Veterinary Office. I have also noted that further FVO missions are being undertaken to Brazil and that the Commission would reassess the authorisation of exports from Brazil in the light of the outcome of these missions. I have impressed on the Commissioner the need to ensure that the deficiencies noted are properly and promptly addressed.

In relation to these imports I have been consistent in my view that Irish farmers deserve fair play in the market place. At EU level I have clearly advocated that produce imported from non-EU countries must meet standards equivalent to those required of Community producers. In the interests of both EU producers and consumers I will continue to adopt this approach. The debate in recent months has been important in highlighting the need for the highest possible public and animal health standards. This has always been a priority for me.


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