Twelve European Members of Parliament are currently in Brazil to assess livestock and beef conditions, and the Brazilian biofuel industry. The visit is considered significant because Brazil has only just managed to resume beef exports to the EU.
Brussels had imposed last February a temporary ban on Brazilian beef based on sanitary rules. The MPE delegation is made up of members from the EP Agriculture Committee and EP representatives before Mercosur.
Last Monday, April 28, the MPEs visited the Brazilian Agriculture Confederation, the powerful cattlemen's lobby and later had an appointment with Agriculture minister Reinhold Stephanes and other members of his office and from the Environment Ministry.
The following day they met their counterparts in the Brazilian Congress, both Houses, and later in the day visited several livestock farms, an abattoir and Brazilian animal sanitary personnel.
Last February the European Commission banned the import of Brazilian beef alleging that some sanitary and traceability EU rules were being ignored.
At the end of February the EC allowed the resumption of Brazilian shipments but from a limited number of farms and now a total of 95 farms have been certified.
The severity of the EU decision can be measured by the 80 tons of Brazilian beef that have been shipped to the EU, so far, compared to the 300.000 tons of 2007.
A year ago 10.000 Brazilian farms had the EC traceability and export license. The ban was imposed mainly because of the different criteria applied by Brazilian veterinarians and that requested by the EC.
However Brazil still has to neutralize the powerful lobby of UK and Irish farmers and their MEPs who insisted on restricting the import of Brazilian beef, and some even went further pushing for a complete ban.