Ulster Farmers’ Union president Barclay Bell has said Brazilian meat imports into Europe should be blocked. This follows allegations of corruption and the sale of sub-standard meat from Brazil.

“I am shocked that Brazilian meat processors allegedly sold this meat, some of which was treated with carcinogenic products.

“It’s disturbing to hear that this been happening for some time and that processors may have bribed government officials to secure hygiene certificates for this meat.

The UFU President said this went against everything farmers here work to achieve, in terms of producing meat to the highest-quality standards.

Bell added that the response by the EU should be an immediate trade ban, to protect consumers while investigations continue.

“It is of critical importance that politicians in Belfast, London and Brussels raise with trade officials the concerns the farming industry has about these reports from Brazil. We cannot accept that our industry, or consumers, are put at risk by imports from countries where serious allegations have been made of fraud and corruption in their food industries.”

British perspective

Meanwhile, the NFU in England and Wales has highlighted the importance of securing trade deals, which uphold the high standards of food production. The assertion was made in the wake of the Brazilian sub-standards meat export allegations.

The NFU says that Britain has one of the safest and most traceable food systems of any country in the world. Post-Brexit, it says, it is vital that trade deals which involve importing food products from other countries, such as Brazil, do not undermine this.

NFU President Meurig Raymond added: “Trade is an incredibly important issue for the future of British food in this country and for the people who produce it.

“News that the world’s largest red meat exporter could be involved in exporting rotten meat shows how important it is to have a secure and safe source of food in the UK.

“We have some of the highest animal welfare and environmental standards in the world. Food produced in this country is traceable and how it’s produced is independently audited by assured schemes like the Red Tractor.

“Trade agreements with countries across the globe must be balanced – with the same conditions applying to food imports and exports.”