September 25, 2008

Irish farmers welcomes affirmation of EU beef import standards

The Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) has welcomed EU Farm Commissioner Marianne Fischer-Boel's comments at the World Meat Congress in Cape Town that imports of beef to the EU must meet EU standards.


UFU President Graham Furey said that this is an issue which the EU has repeatedly been weak in enforcing and it is only recently that the Commission has started to take a stronger stand. EU farmers must comply with the strict production standards which will inevitably lead to higher costs.


Cheap food imports to the EU, produced at a lower standard are unacceptable. The constant lobbying on Brazilian beef was eventually vindicated and it is encouraging to see the Farm, Commissioner adopting a clearer stance on this issue.


On Commissioner Marianne Fischer-Boel's previous visit to Northern Ireland, she said that the EU beef market was well balanced. Europe's public beef stocks have been at zero since the spring of 2004 and consequently, imports have increased. In the European pig meat sector, rising feed costs have put it under pressure during the last year or so.


Over the last 12 years, the average pig producer margin was about GBP 50 per 100 kilogrammes. By early 2008, it had dropped close to zero. The figure in some Member States was even below zero. Thankfully, pig producer margins have improved gradually and are now re-approaching their long-term average. Due to this clear market recovery, the Commissioner has decided to put refunds for fresh and frozen pig meat carcasses, cuts and bellies back at zero as of early August.


Boel also added that food standards have been rigorously enforced and hence Ireland has regained their solid reputation for safety and quality.


It is essential that anyone who wants to export to the EU meets their safety standards, she affirmed.


On the other hand, expressing her firm belief in trade, she hopes export problems could be cleared up as soon as possible.

Video >

Follow Us