Tories wade into Brazilian row

Tories call for stronger FMD controls on Brazilian beef imports

Speaking at the opening of the Sedgemoor Auction Centre near Bridgwater in Somerset, shadow agriculture minister Jim Paice called on the government to ensure that the foot and mouth disease controls, which apply to British beef, apply equally to strongly to imports from Brazil.

The call comes after a damning report into the Brazilian beef industry by the EU's Food and Veterinary Office, which found there is no systematic audit system for animal health in Brazil; inadequate or no training of state vets; an unreliable system to determine that animals have been resident in a disease-free region for 90 days prior to export; and no programme to monitor the efficacy of FMD vaccination.

Paice said: "Whether it is in Britain or Brazil, the same strict standards should be applied to the traceability of meat. Our farmers comply with some of the most stringent standards in the world - rightly so - and yet meat can be imported from a country whose animal health controls have been found wanting by the EU. This cannot be right.

"Since 2006 the UK has imported over 150,000t of beef from Brazil but the government is unable to say from which states this has come from, which is deeply worry when such serious shortcomings in the Brazilian regime have been highlighted.

"The government has already caused one outbreak of foot and mouth disease this year, it mustn't be responsible for another."