The EU Commission has asked the Brazilian government to stop all meat consignments from companies highlighted in that country’s ‘rotten meat’ scandal with immediate effect.

A Commission spokesperson confirmed to Agriland that four of the businesses implicated in the affair have EU export accreditation, adding: “There were intensive diplomatic discussions entered into between the EU and Brazilian authorities at the weekend.

The scandal puts a major question mark over Brazil’s ability to put in place an effective food traceability system.

The spokesperson said that the EU will now ratchet up the number of physical inspections undertaken, where all food imports from Brazil are concerned.

“Fundamentally, this is a food safety issue. But if irregularities are identified, courtesy of the physical checks that are carried out, the trade implications for Brazil will be significant.”

The spokesperson stopped short of saying that the EU Commission will introduce a blanket ban on meat imports from Brazil.

“This is a very fluid situation; one that is changing on an hourly basis. There is no requirement for the EU to have eyes on the ground in Brazil at the present time. The enhanced physical checking system is sufficient for the moment.

“Brazil must now demonstrate that it has put an effective meat traceability system in place.”

The Commission representative added that, until this happens, there is no likelihood of Brazil securing new access to EU markets with meat products, particularly beef.

“The scale of the breakdown in Brazil’s food traceability and safety standards is very alarming. And this must be reflected in the EU’s dealings with Brazil as we move forward.”

Brussels is also conscious that any decisions it takes, with regard to food imports from Brazil, could have knock-on effects when it comes to maintaining its own food exporting links with countries around the world.