Brazilian beef gets first European Promotional Body

Brazilian beef exporters are to mount their first sustained promotional campaign with the opening of a London office for the Brazilian Beef Information Service (BBIS).

As well as promoting the benefits of Brazilian beef to trade and consumer audiences, the BBIS will represent Brazil in the current EU debate over beef imports.

BBIS director Rob Metcalfe said: "It is time that the Brazilian point of view was heard. Irish and, to an extent, Scottish farmers have been using highly misleading arguments to campaign for a ban on Brazilian beef imports. The reality is that this is trade protectionism hiding behind scare stories.

"The truth is that there are no implications for human or animal health from the beef trade with Brazil. BSE is a European cattle disease - it has never existed in Brazil.

"Foot-and-mouth disease, which does not affect humans, cannot be exported in boneless, matured, chilled or frozen beef from Brazil.

"Suggestions to the contrary seem designed to create an atmosphere of panic among EU politicians and regulators. Brazilian beef has been imported into Europe successfully and safely for at least 75 years."

The BBIS is being operated by Richmond Towers Communications, which has over 30 years' experience in the meat trade via its work for former client the Meat and Livestock Commission.

"There are short-term issues to address, and a longer-term campaign to initiate," said Metcalfe. "We will be active in the UK and throughout the EU to make sure the Brazilian message of quality, safety and value is understood."