March 3, 2016
EU Urged to Halt the Import of Brazilian Horsemeat Amid Food Safety Concerns
The European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office’s latest audit in Brazil has found major shortcomings in the production of horsemeat destined for export to the European Union.
The FVO notes that the design and implementation of Brazil’s 2014 and 2015 residue monitoring plans for horses cannot demonstrate equivalent guarantees to EU food safety standards. In light of this latest information, Humane Society International/Europe is urging the European Commission to stop Brazilian horsemeat imports.
Dr. Joanna Swabe, HSI/Europe’s executive director, said: “Once again, a Food and Veterinary Office audit has corroborated our repeated warnings that horsemeat imported from non-EU countries fails to comply with EU food safety standards. It is time the European Commission halts the import of Brazilian horsemeat, which poses potential health risks to EU consumers and causes the suffering of horses ending up in the Brazilian slaughter pipeline.”
In addition to the traceability and food safety shortcomings identified, the audit report also raises serious concerns with regards to animal welfare prior to or during transport. The audit found that a high number of animals were either dead or in a state of extreme weakness on arrival at the slaughterhouse.
HSI/Europe urges the Commission to immediately suspend the import of horsemeat from Brazil as well as to take the appropriate measures to address the traceability problems identified during recent FVO audits in other non-EU countries exporting horsemeat to the EU.
- Since 31 July 2010, the EU has required that only horses with a known lifetime medical treatment history, and whose medicinal treatment records show they satisfy the veterinary medicine withdrawal periods, will be allowed to be slaughtered for export to the EU.
- In 2014, the European Commission suspended the import of Mexican horsemeat imports owing to serious traceability and food safety concerns.
- More than 25,000 EU citizens have joined HSI/Europe’s call to the European Commission to suspend horsemeat imports from non-EU countries that do not comply with EU food safety standards.