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Trust is key in troubled times
Published:  18 April, 2017

The NFU's John Royle discusses how people return to what they trust when there's a meat scandal. 

I recently attended the COPA (Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations) working party on beef and veal in Brussels. A key talking point and one that really did stir emotions among European farming unions was the Brazilian meat scandal, which has emerged over the last couple of weeks. We now know that up to four plants have been implicated in the food fraud, which included falsifying export certificates and multiple breaches of veterinary requirements.

The Commission has recently confirmed there will be 100% physical checks on all consignments from Brazil and 20% will be subject to microbiological checks for salmonella and E.coli at the importer’s expense. However, many called for much tougher sanctions, with some member states demanding a complete ban on Brazilian meat entering the EU as a result of this serious and systemic failure in a major beef-producing nation’s food production system.

Commission officials attempted to reassure the working party that the situation would be resolved, and that urgent audits of the supply chain would be carried out shortly. European beef producers will be concerned that food scares like this have the potential to dent consumer confidence.

It seems common sense to me and many others, that short supply chains, sourcing fully traceable, high-welfare and farm-assured British livestock, is the way to go.