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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 00:06 GMT
EU suspends Brazil beef imports
Workers carry dead cattle infected with foot-and-mouth cattle disease in Brazil during a 2005 outbreak
EU Officials are not satisfied with Brazil's foot-and-mouth controls
The European Union will suspend all imports of Brazilian beef from Thursday saying the country's foot-and-mouth disease checks are "unacceptable".

Last month, the EU warned that only beef from an authorised list of Brazilian farms would be allowed into Europe from 31 January.

But no agreement was reached on the list, so Brazil has been told none of its beef can be exported to EU nations.

Brazil's government said the temporary ban was "unjustifiable and arbitrary".

The country is the world's biggest beef exporter, selling more than $4bn of beef last year.

'Unacceptable claims'

EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said the EU could not accept Brazilian claims that a vast number of its farms are free of the disease and safe for their cattle to be exported to Europe.

There will be no holdings authorized to export to the EU
Markos Kyprianou
EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner
"There will be no holdings authorized to export to the EU," he said.

European producers have raised concerns that Brazilian beef does not meet the same strict standards laid down for Europe's farmers.

Mr Kyprianou said the EU was concerned by the "very large number" of farms the Brazilian government had designated as disease-free, questioning whether all the farms had been individually inspected and certified.

New restrictions coming into force on on Thursday mean that only beef from a list of approved Brazilian farms meeting EU animal health standards can now be exported to Europe.

The farms will be added to that list once European health safety inspectors are sure that they meet strict standards, Mr Kyprianou added.

This will mean that in some cases EU officials will have to inspect the farms themselves, and Mr Kyprianou refused to lay down a time-frame for the inspection process.

'No proof'

Brazil's ministry of agriculture said previous EU inspections showed no proven risk to human and animal health.

It added that the EU should be more "transparent" during the next stage of negotiations in order to normalize beef trade.

The ministry said the EU had not yet defined the criteria for deciding which ranches would be allowed to export beef.

The EU already bans imports from three Brazilian states because of the presence of foot-and-mouth disease that Europe is determined to keep clear from its livestock.

Foot and mouth crisis hits Brazil
12 Oct 05 |  Americas
Farmers protest over cheap beef
04 Aug 05 |  Northern Ireland


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