Irish farmers are calling for Brazilian beef to be permanently banned from the EU because of the threat it poses to animal health and food safety.

According to IFA president Padraig Walsh, the latest EU Food and Veterinary Office report is damning in its criticism of Brazil. “Alarmingly, the FVO uncovered and documented unreported foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in Brazil and a total failure on animal identification, holding registration and movement controls,” he said.

“The FVO report states categorically that the Brazilian authorities could not provide the guarantees in respect of residency in approved areas and on approved holdings as required by the European Union.”

Mr Walsh also pointed to F&M reporting failures and a breakdown in the system for recording vaccinated cattle.

“The findings make a mockery of the claim by the EU Commission that a regionalisation policy can be successfully applied in Brazil,” he said.

IFA livestock chairman Michael Doran also listed examples from the FVO report where the traceability system was flawed. In one case 700 cattle, which were slaughtered and should have been recorded as dead, were still recorded as live.

The FVO also found 1500 removed ear tags in two boxes on an export holding, but with 70% of the animals still recorded as live on the database. “The findings are so damning, nobody in the EU Commission could credibly suggest that Europe could even contemplate importing beef from Brazil in the future,” he said.

But the claims have been dismissed by the Brazilian Beef Information Service, which pointed out that all exports to the EU were of de-boned, matured beef, which could not transmit F&M.

“It is time the IFA moved forward,” said BBIS director Rob Metcalfe. “This is old news and has been superseded by events. Only last month FVO inspectors carried out a thorough audit on Brazilian beef producers and have approved a number of them for export.”

This effectively brought an end to the temporary suspension of Brazilian beef imports imposed by Brussels in February.

Mr Metcalfe was concerned that continued sniping by the IFA would tarnish the consumer perception of all beef in the EU market.