Dáil Éireann - Volume 638 - 27 September, 2007
Written Answers. - Beef Imports.
Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl
Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she is satisfied that adequate control mechanisms are in place at EU level to ensure the continuing importation of Brazilian beef does not present a risk to human or animal health; her views on the call by farmers’ organisations here for a complete ban on the Brazilian product; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21184/07]
Deputy Mary Coughlan Deputy Mary Coughlan
Deputy Mary Coughlan: All consignments of beef coming from third countries must first be landed at a EU approved Border Inspection Post (BIP) and there undergo documentary, identity and physical checks that are prescribed under harmonised EU rules. In Ireland BIPs approved for the processing direct imports into this country of animal products are located at Dublin Port and Shannon Airport. The Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Communities carries out monitoring and inspection of each Member State’s BIPs to ensure the conditions for import of animal products into Europe, provided under the harmonized legislation, are being correctly applied. Under the Food Safety Authority of Ireland Act 1998 contract with my Department, application of import controls on animal products destined for human consumption are also monitored by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. I am satisfied that these import controls are correctly applied in Ireland.
Animal products that have met all the required conditions are released for free circulation within the Community. Copies of the BIP clearance document and the health certificate must accompany the consignment to its destination. Imports failing to comply with these veterinary  control checks may be detained for further examination. If non-compliance is established they are returned to the exporting country or destroyed.
I brought the IFA’s report on Brazilian Beef production to the attention of Commissioner Markos Kyprianou Commissioner for Health some time ago and received a detailed response and assessment from the Commission. While I fully accept the Commission’s reassurance that all appropriate measures would be taken to protect EU consumers, I have noted that certain deficiencies highlighted by the IFA were recognised by the EU Food and Veterinary Office. I have been informed that further FVO missions are being undertaken to Brazil and that the Commission would reassess the authorisation of exports from Brazil in the light of the outcome of these missions. I have impressed on the Commissioner the need to ensure that the deficiencies noted are properly and promptly addressed.
In relation to these imports I have been consistent in my view that Irish farmers deserve fair play in the market place. At EU level I have clearly advocated that produce imported from non-EU countries must meet standards equivalent to those required of Community producers. In the interests of both EU producers and consumers I will continue to adopt this approach. The debate in recent months has been important in highlighting the need for the highest possible public and animal health standards. This has always been a priority for me.
Dáil Éireann 638 Written Answers. Beef Imports.