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Irish beef could soon be on the shelves in China


Significant advances in the development of Irish exports of beef, seafood and thoroughbred horses to China have been made today following a meeting between Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed and Chinese Minister Zhi Shuping in Dublin.

The Chinese Minister, who has responsibility for the Chinese Quarantine and Inspection Service, has been in Ireland since Monday.

This morning’s meeting was the second formal bilateral meeting of the two Ministers and comes after Minister Creed’s discussions with Minister Zhi in Beijing last September.

The progress made follows significant engagement between Irish and Chinese Officials since then culminating in today’s events in Dublin.

With reference to beef access both Ministers signed a formal protocol on beef exports to China that paves the way to access for Irish beef to China.

In order to complete the process to allow Irish beef exporters access to the Chinese market a veterinary health certificate with AQSIQ must be finalised which will be followed by an inspection visit by the Chinese Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) to approve individual processing plants for export.

Beef consumption in China has increased almost six fold between 1990 and 2015 to almost 4 kg per capita and is forecast to increase further over the coming years.

However, Chinese beef production has not kept pace with rising demand and imports are estimated to have increased to more than 1.2 million tonnes in 2016, accounting for around one third of beef consumption.


Source: http://www.independent.ie/business/farming/beef/irish-beef-could-soon-be-on-the-shelves-in-china-35632204.html  18/04/2017



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Brazilian meat exports could drop by $1.5 billion in 2017

Brazilian meat exports could drop by $1.5 billion in 2017

Brazilian meat exports could drop by $1.5 billion in 2017, the Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Blairo Maggi, recently revealed.

Maggi made the comments in an interview with Bloomberg News. He added that he would not be surprised if the country lost between 5% and 10% of its meat market share; but these are preliminary estimates.

This follows the recent scandal surrounding beef and poultry meat; it was reported that meat processing plants had been selling ‘rotten beef and poultry for years’.

It has been reported by Reuters that police have accused more than 100 people, most of whom are inspectors, of taking bribes in exchange for allowing the sale of rancid products, falsifying export documents or failing to inspect meat-packing plants.

A number of countries put bans in place on imports from Brazil when the scandal was revealed. China, which is the largest importer of Brazilian beef, was one of the countries to put a ban in place.

These bans remained in place for a number of days before being lifted. The Brazilian Minister believes the industry has overcome the first hurdle in convincing countries to resume purchasing Brazilian beef.

However, regaining consumer confidence will prove more difficult, he added.

Brazilian meat exports could return to normal

Brazilian meat exports could return to normal by the end of May, according to Reuters.

A statement from one of the country’s industry groups, Abrafrigo, suggests that Brazil’s efforts to reverse import bans have ‘started to bear fruit‘ following the revelations last month, Reuters added.

In March, Brazil reportedly exported 124,880t of fresh and processed beef products – an 8% drop from the corresponding month in 2016.

These exports generated $489m in revenue, a 3% drop, Abrafrigo outlined after compiling government data.

Total beef exports from Brazil in the first quarter of the year amounted to $1.3 billion in sales, according to Abrafrigo.

SOURCE: Agriland 19/4/2017 Conor Finnerty

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Consumers trust in the EU ‘shattered’ by Brazilian meat scandal

Trust in the ability of the EU to protect the interests of its consumers has been ‘shattered’ by the recent Brazilian meat scandal, according to Irish MEP Marian Harkin.

Harkin was among a number of Irish MEPs who raised concerns about inspection failures on Brazilian meat.

The Independent MEP questioned the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, on where responsibility lay for ensuring the safety of meat imported into the EU.

Inadequacies in the trustworthiness of inspections in Brazil had been revealed almost ten years ago, Harkin said.

“In a detailed research project by the Irish Farmers’ Association, the absence of traceability in the Brazilian beef herd was revealed and debated in the European Parliament, and now we are discussing an even bigger scandal of rotten meat.”

This revealed systemic failures in controls, including evidence of official bribery, constituting questionable actions at many levels in Brazil, the Independent MEP said.

European consumers rely on the Commission to ensure that only safe food is imported into the EU, and farmers rely on the Commission to ensure verifiable equivalence in the food products we import.

While some countries moved swiftly to ban Brazilian beef, the EU sat on its hands, Harkin added.

She believes this posed questions for how effectively the interests of EU consumers and farmers would be protected in ongoing Mercusor negotiations.

“It cannot be business as usual in the Mercusor negotiations. The mutual trust that should be there has been shattered,” she said.

‘A blind eye has been turned to poultry’

While there has rightly been a focus on the importation of Brazilian beef products into Europe, a blind eye has been turned to poultry, Sinn Fein MEP, Matt Carthy, said.

The Midlands North West MEP believes equally-concerning questions have been raised in relation to the poultry sector – in light of the Brazilian scandal.

Carthy questioned the European Commissioner’s commitment to protecting Irish poultry farmers and consumer interests amid ‘arrogant’ Mercosur statements.

In a letter from the Brazilian authorities to MEPs on the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, it emerged that 184 international notifications were received about products of animal Brazilian origin during 2016, the Sinn Fein MEP said.

These irregularities included microbiological, physical and chemical standard violations but were downplayed by the authorities, he added.

I find it extremely concerning that while we may have yet to discover the full extent of this scandal, no precautionary measures are being taken by the European Commission.

Less than a week after the discovery of the cover-up, the European Commission publicly repeated its intention to conclude a free-trade agreement with the Mercosur block, which includes Brazil, as soon as possible, he said.

“This is an insult to farmers and consumers alike, who are now questioning in whose interests this deal is being negotiated.

“Last May Commissioner Hogan announced that beef was temporarily off the negotiating table in Mercosur talks. However, no such promise or commitment was made in relation to protecting our poultry sector.

“Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of chicken, with its poultry exports to the EU far outweighing those of beef. Poultry is also the single largest category of meat consumed in Ireland, accounting for 37% of meat consumption,” he said.

With the Irish poultry sector already facing uncertainties as a result of Brexit and dealing with the fall-out from the avian flu crisis, it is time for Commissioner Hogan to give these farmers the same level of protection as other areas, according to the Sinn Fein MEP.

“This sector supports over 6,000 Irish jobs. However,  it’s 70% reliance on British markets and threats from cheaper products, from countries like Brazil, put its survival in real jeopardy.

“On Monday during a debate in the European Parliament, I reiterated my call for the European Commission to immediately suspend all meat imports from Brazil, pending a full investigation of the extent of the scandal, and to indefinitely cease trade negotiations with the Mercosur trading block.

“The Irish government must now adopt the same position,” he said.


Source: Agriland  05.04.2017

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‘Irish beef processors must gain a foothold in China now’

‘Irish beef processors must gain a foothold in China now’

The decision by China to ban Brazilian beef imports is an opportunity for Irish meat companies to do real business in that country, according to ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch.

“It really is now or never for Ireland in this regard,” he explained.

“We have been hearing for so long about the growing middle classes in China wanting to eat more red meat. So with Brazil out of that market, surely this target grouping would be happy to pay that little bit more for high-quality Irish beef.

“And the same principle holds in those other countries that have banned imports over recent days.

Ireland has had numerous trade missions in all of the countries that have banned Brazilian meat over recent days. But Irish meat processers must take the initiative and seize the opportunity that now exists in these markets.

Punch believes that the absence of Brazilian beef from a number of key international markets will lead to a general tightening of cattle prices.

“This is a view also held by leading representatives within the French beef industry,” he added.

The ICSA representative said that the EU must now act to ban all meat imports from Brazil.

“Up to a point, Brussels has turned a blind eye to a number of discrepancies previously identified in Brazilian meat imports, where food standards are concerned.

“But we now have clear evidence that both meat processing companies and government officials in Brazil are not meeting the professional requirements expected of them.

“And, under these circumstances, the EU has no option but to ban all meat imports from the country.”

Punch also believes that the EU should withdraw from the agricultural chapter of the current Mercosur trade negotiations with immediate effect.

“What I find astounding is the fact that the EU negotiating team in South America for these talks found out about Brazil’s rotten meat scandal through the media. At the very least, one would have expected the Brazilian representatives attending the negotiations to brief their EU counterparts immediately.”

Source: Agriland

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EU blocks imports from 4 Brazilian meat plants, as crisis unfolds

EU blocks imports from 4 Brazilian meat plants, as crisis unfolds

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.

Source: Agriland

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Brazil meat-packing giants ‘exported rotten beef’

The authorities in Brazil suspended 33 government officials amid allegations that some of the country’s biggest meat processors have been selling rotten beef and poultry for years.

Three meat processing plants have also been closed and another 21 are under scrutiny.

Much of the meat produced by the companies accused is exported to Europe and other parts of the world.

Brazil is the world’s largest red meat exporter.

Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi will meet foreign ambassadors on Monday to reassure them and try to prevent sanctions being issued against Brazilian meat exporters.

Operation Weak Flesh was launched in the early hours of Friday in six Brazilian states after a two-year investigation.

Federal police carried out raids in 194 locations, deploying more than 1,000 officers.

The investigators allege that some managers bribed health inspectors and politicians to get government certificates for their products.

They accuse more than 30 companies of a number of unhygienic practices. Among them are JBS, the world’s largest beef exporter, and BRF, the world’s top poultry producer.

Brazilian federal police said they have evidence of at least 40 incidents.


“They used acid and other chemicals to mask the aspect of the product. In some cases, the products used were carcinogenic,” the police said.

In other cases, potato, water and even cardboard paper was mixed with chicken meat to increase profits.

JBS said in a statement that it had followed rigorous quality standards and sanitary regulations.

It confirmed the raids, but said none of its top executives had been targeted.

BRF said it was co-operating with the investigation. The company also denied breaching regulations.

Prosecutors say a percentage of the bribe money was paid to two parties from the governing coalition: PP and President Michel Temer’s PMDB.

Shares of JBS and BRF have fallen by 10% and 8% respectively in the Sao Paulo stock exchange following the announcement.

JBS has a net revenue of $55bn (£44bn). It exports to some 150 countries.


Source: BBC News 18/03/2017

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Irish sheepmeat granted access to Saudi Arabia

Irish sheepmeat has been granted access to Saudi Arabia the Department of Agriculture confirmed, just 48 hours after meeting with Saudi officials.

The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed made the announcement on the final day of the Bord Bia trade mission to the Middle East, just 48 hours after leaving meetings with Saudi officials.

Department of Agriculture officials had met with Saudi officials to discuss access to the market for Irish sheepmeat.

The State-owned Saudi Agriculture and Livestock Company, which is in charge of sourcing food for the country met with the Irish Minister, veterinary and senior department officials in Saudi on the first leg of the Bord Bia trade mission.

The State body which manages health certificates also met the Irish delegation and it was agreed at the meeting that the process would commence.

It is understood that the decree will grant Irish sheepmeat access within a relatively short timeframe. Irish officials who met with their Saudi counterparts said the meetings had been extremely positive.

EU sheepmeat has been banned entry to Saudi in recent years due to concerns over scrapie in sheep.

Earlier this week the Minister announced enhanced access to Saudi for Irish beef, which will allow prepared consumer foods including cooked meats be exported to Saudi.

Margaret Donnelly Irish Independent 

March 2 2017 9:24 AM

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€3.75m campaign for Irish beef and lamb promotion in Asia approved

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has signed a contract with Bord Bia which will see Irish beef and lamb promoted in a campaign in China, Japan and Hong Kong.

The total campaign spend over three years is valued at €3.75 million, comprising €3 million in EU funding and €750,000 in Bord Bia funding.

This week marks Bord Bia’s first major promotion under the programme with a strong presence planned at Foodex, a key food trade fair in Japan which attracts over 80,000 food buyers, importers, processors, retailers, restaurateurs and chefs.

Commenting on the promotion campaign, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said that this is the first Irish programme approved under the new EU promotion regime.

“I am delighted to see EU recognition and financial support for an attractive industry programme to raise awareness among Chinese and Japanese consumers of the versatility and nutritional value of European beef and lamb.”

We can be proud of our quality, food safety, animal welfare and environmentally-friendly production methods.

“Promotion campaigns such as this enable us to showcase these attributes on the European and world stages and I would welcome more such campaigns, particularly as we aim to diversify into third country markets such as those in the East”.

Noting the key timing of the campaign the Minister added that identifying market opportunities, building awareness and securing business in a more diversified range of markets has never been more important to the future of Ireland’s quality food production.

“Brexit presents a unique challenge. My Department and Bord Bia are working closely with the agri-food sector to sustain and grow our trade links.”

The Business to Business (B-2-B) campaign will run for three years (2017-2019) and build awareness and understanding of food safety, quality assurance and sustainability of European grass-fed beef and lamb. According to Bord Bia, it will also underpin the introduction of EU beef and lamb to China.

Tara McCarthy, Chief Executive, Bord Bia said this campaign will be rolled out across three market territories, each of which will have a specific target audience, product focus and tailored promotional activities.

Targeting importers, retailers, foodservice providers, chefs and media outlets, our campaign will concentrate on digital media, PR, trade fairs, seminars and inward visits to Ireland.

“This additional funding has enabled us to significantly intensify our promotional work in the Asian market including participation at five key trade shows in the region, compared to two last year.

“As part of the campaign, we also expect, together with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to welcome in excess of 20 high level officials from key Chinese Agencies and Ministries to Ireland this year,” she said.

The growth potential of South-East Asia for food and drink exports had been identified by Bord Bia and Irish companies alike in recent years.

To support Irish exporters to leverage this potential, in September 2016, Minister Creed officially opened a Bord Bia office in Singapore.

With its Shanghai hub serving the China market, the new Bord Bia Singapore office is focused on the South and East Asian countries of Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Japan and Korea.

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Bord Bia welcomes seal of approval for its beef strategy in United Arab Emirates

Article Date: 03/03/2017

Declan Fennell, Meat Division, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board

Bord Bia`s positioning of Irish beef as a premium product in the United Arab Emirates received a valuable endorsement in Dubai earlier this week from award winning chef Reif Othman at the launch of the UAE Chapter of the Chefs` Irish Beef Club (CIBC), the first outside Europe.

The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D. inducted the Chapter`s first member Chef Reif Othman as part of a Bord Bia led trade mission to the Gulf region. Minister Creed acknowledged the value of the CIBC in legitimising the premium positioning of Irish beef which has played an invaluable role in convincing high end foodservice operators and retailers of the quality of grass- fed Irish beef.

The launch of a new Chapter of Chefs’ Irish Beef Club in the United Arab Emirates is a significant milestone for the Club, bringing number of Chapters to nine (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE and the UK). Chef Reif becomes the 89th member of the Club, which was established by Bord Bia in 2004.

Later this year Bord Bia will welcome four new member chefs into the Chefs’ Irish Beef Club, UAE and host an inward study visit to Ireland to showcase the key credentials of our grass- based, sustainable beef production systems.

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Egypt reopens its beef market to Irish farmers ending 17-year ban

EGYPT HAS REOPENED its beef market to Irish farmers after a 17-year ban on the Republic’s beef exports.

Five Irish plants will start exporting to Egypt once the “necessary technical arrangements are in place”, according to a statement form the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The announcement – which also includes approval for beef offal and certain types of products made from sheep meat – comes after the reopening of Irish live cattle exports to Egypt in February 2016.

Prior to a ban on EU beef in the late 1990s, introduced after an outbreak of ‘mad cow disease’, Egypt was one of the largest markets for Irish beef products.

At the time, Ireland exported IR£200 million worth of beef there every year, according to an archived RTÉ report.

Largest consumer market

Today, Egypt is the largest consumer market in the Middle East and North Africa, with a population of around 95 million.

It is already the third biggest destination for Irish agri-food exports in Africa, with exports of €45 million in 2015. The bulk of this figure – €30.5 million – came from dairy products, while the remaining €11 million came from seafood.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed Source: Photocall Ireland

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed claimed the announcement indicates “another example of achieving the market access goals in the Food Wise 2025 strategy”, the government’s strategy to increase Ireland’s agri-food exports to €19 billion.

The minister said with the upcoming UK exit from the EU, his department is prioritising the opening of new markets to Irish agri-food exporters.

He noted that last year saw the opening of the Canadian, New Zealand and Israeli beef markets.

“Significant steps were also taken in terms of beef market access to China, South Korean and Vietnam,” he added.

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) meanwhile have welcomed the lifting of the Egyptian ban, with president Joe Healy describing the news as a “positive development for the beef sector” and saying the reopening of the market has resulted “as part of the IFA campaign on market access over the last two years”.

Written by Conor McMahon and posted on Fora.ie

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