Alexa

EU says some Brazilian farms now safe to export beef to Europe

EU says some Brazilian farms now safe to export beef to Europe

The European Union said Friday it will allow some Brazilian farms to export beef to Europe again, ending a monthlong freeze over animal disease concerns.
The EU said it has approved some 106 farms that meet EU health standards, reopening trade between Brazil _ the world's leading beef exporter _ and its main market in Europe.
EU officials brought in tighter rules on Jan. 31, saying they could not authorize any Brazilian farms as safe enough to export to Europe because Brazil had not done enough to check that cattle were free of the foot-and-mouth disease the EU wants to keep clear of its livestock.
"Now we have a positive list of holdings, and Brazil can export to the European Union from these particular holdings," said spokeswoman Nina Papadoulaki.
Angry at the ban, Brazil had warned the EU that it could file a complaint to the World Trade Organization claiming that the animal disease rules were an unfair barrier to free trade.
In 2006, the EU imported 327,000 tons of Brazilian beef worth US$1.4 billion (euro963 million).
The EU bans imports from three Brazilian states because of the presence of foot-and-mouth disease. European veterinary experts in November signaled a number of "serious and repeated deficiencies" in the way Brazil tracks animals destined for European plates.
The EU demands cattle must be disease-free and located in a foot-and-mouth-free state 90 days prior to slaughter if the meat is to be exported to the EU. The slaughter must be in a facility approved by the EU, and only matured and de-boned meat is allowed for export.
Foot-and-mouth disease, which also strikes other cloven-hoofed animals like sheep, pigs and goats, is a viral illness that can be spread through even minimal contact with infected animals, farm equipment or meat. It can be fatal to animals, but does not harm humans.
Europe's own strict rules that register and track animals date back to the mad cow crisis in the 1990s when it emerged that cattle fed bonemeal from diseased sheep had entered the human food chain.
Europe is a major market for Brazilian top beef exporters Marfrig, Minerva and Friboi, owned by JBS. The EU ban worried them, with Marfrig saying it would expand output at plants in neighboring Argentina and Uruguay
Friboi warned that fresh beef exports this year would drop sharply and the tighter rules would hike prices for the smaller amount of beef approved for sale to Europe.
Europeans already pay well over US$5,000 (euro3,385) per metric ton for Brazilian beef, far higher than the average US$2,000 (euro1,354) paid by Brazil's leading markets, Egypt and Russia, according to the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association.
Rising incomes in booming economies such as Brazil, India, Russia and China have already helped global prices to rise for meat and grain _ which cattle feed on.