“Given the fact that the credibility of the Brazilian authorities and food companies has been totally undermined on foot of this latest episode, people will be entitled to question the seriousness and commitment of the EU authorities unless a complete ban on Brazilian food exports is imposed immediately and maintained until such time that clearly verifiable independent guarantees can be given. This is surely in the interests of EU consumers and also recognises the absolute need to be fair to EU farmers who have to meet exacting and costly standards and then are expected to compete against possibly very substandard imports”, said ICMSA President, John Comer.
“Farmers and consumers are rightly asking why the EU seems to have such trust in Brazilian authorities? Two things need to happen if any kind of confidence is to be restored: firstly, it is essential that a ban is imposed and, secondly, the EU must instigates its own independent checks of procedures in Brazil and that these checks must continue if and when a ban is lifted. It is just unacceptable that EU farmer incomes in a hard year like 2016, for example, were probably undermined by imports that in no way met our standards and which were then by multiple retailers and other food suppliers to undermine the price paid to EU farmers. Those same retailers and processors expect us to meet exacting requirements in relation to standards and to participate in quality assurance schemes and yet they will import products from other countries such as Brazil to force down our prices – and the EU Commission and national authorities are letting them away with it. This cannot continue. The EU has a standard for food and it must ensure that all food sold in the EU meets this standard, something that has not been the case up to now for imported food. If anything like the Brazil situation happened in an EU Member State, you can be guaranteed that the National Authorities and the EU Commission would impose a ban until the issues were resolved and the same should apply to Brazil and other countries who step out of line. Farmers are looking at DG SANTE and we need to see appropriate action immediately”, concluded Mr. Comer.
Ends 24 March 2017.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office