Calls are mounting for the EU Commission to impose a total ban on Brazilian meat imports, following publication of a damning report into the country’s animal drug controls.

The report followed an inspection visit by the EU Food and Veterinary Office late last year, which was checking that Brazil had made the necessary improvements following a previous visit in 2003.

The FVO concluded that “most of the deficiencies found in 2003 have still not been rectified and many of the promised actions did not in fact happen.

“The continued free availability of the majority of veterinary medicines, the absence of any requirement to maintain records on farms and the lack of testing for residues of the many veterinary medicines which are unauthorised for use in the EU but are freely available in Brazilian livestock production undermine the confidence in several commodities exported to the EU,” it said.

Specifically, the mission team found a large stock of hormones and antibiotics on the one cattle farm it visited.

It also emerged that Brazilian pigmeat had been continually exported to the EU, even though there are no EU-approved pig production plants in Brazil.

The FVO report makes a number of recommendations, including a request that the Brazilian authorities ensure that the necessary equipment for analysing residues is installed in laboratories “without delay” and a call for on-farm controls to be strengthened.

But this does not go nearly far enough for farm organisations, including the Irish Farmers’ Association.

IFA livestock chairman John Bryan said the EU had no option but to ban all imports of Brazilian beef.

“If similar findings were made on a farm in Europe, all of the animals would be destroyed and those responsible would most likely face jail,” he said.

“The standards in Brazil are not acceptable to the Food and Drugs Administration in the USA,” he added.

“The difference between the USA and the EU is that the USA has totally banned fresh Brazilian beef imports as they do not come up to standard.”

philip.clarke@rbi.co.uk