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IRELAND CALLS FOR A BEEF-IMPORT BAN

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PORKER

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IRELAND CALLS FOR A BEEF-IMPORT BAN
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IRELAND: Beef producers say increased demand for beef because of animal diseases is driving prices higher.
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Concerns over avian influenza in France and across Europe and foot and mouth disease in South America are driving demand for beef in Europe and should see prices continuing to rise. This is the view of the Ireland’s beef producers leader John Bryan as he saw beef prices starting to rise in Ireland.

Bryan said last week the OIE confirmed a further 20 cases of FMD in Brazil in the state of Parana, confirming that the disease is still spreading and far from under control. The first case of FMD in this current outbreak in Brazil was notified on October 8, 2005 and the latest cases were first suspected as far back as October 21, last year.

Bryan repeated the Irish Farmers’ Association call for the European Union to impose a total ban on all South American beef imports considering the escalating FMD problem in South America. He said both the E.U. Commission and the Irish government should immediately increase the level of biosecurity in response to the latest animal health and food safety concerns.

Bryan said it was unacceptable that the European Union was exposing the entire European livestock sector to unnecessary risk by not imposing more stringent restrictions on the importation of beef from Argentina and Brazil in response to foot and mouth disease outbreaks in these countries.

"The latest FMD outbreaks in Brazil and Argentina confirm a deteriorating situation in South America,” he said. “The reality is without a proper and robust traceability and movement control system, regionalization cannot work effectively and the only proper protection for Europe is a total ban on all South American beef imports."

The IFA livestock leader said by imposing only a partial ban, the EU Commission is ignoring the facts on the FMD disease rift as highlighted by the EU Food and Veterinary Office. Bryan said in a report published last spring following a visit to Argentina that the E.U. Food and Veterinary office concluded “weaknesses were found in control over foot and mouth disease, in public health control systems and in certificate procedures.”

Bryan accused the European Union of applying double standards in relation to beef imports. He said European producers are subject to the most rigorous standards of traceability, animal health and food safety control where the Commission considers no level of regulation too much. However when it comes to beef imports, particularly from South America, the European Union applies a lax attitude and is prepared to take unnecessary risks on animal disease and food safety.
 

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