In particular the Commission briefed ministers on the measures already undertaken by member states and the Commission itself to protect the European consumers, and the recent meeting between Commissioner Andriukaitis and the Brazilian minister of agriculture in Brazil on 28 March.
The Commission also explained that it would perform audits in Brazil as soon as possible and not later than in mid-May. In the ensuing debate delegations welcomed the quick, effective and coordinated response given by the EU. They considered essential to provide a high and uniform level of health protection in the EU, and restated their commitment to reinforced controls. On the other hand they also asked to get formal reassurance and transparency from the Brazilian authorities. The Council will keep monitoring the situation with a view to assessing at a later stage with the Commission whether further measures are needed.
On 17 March 2017, the Commission learned from media reports about an investigation into meat fraud in Brazil, involving officials of the Brazilian Ministry of Livestock and Food Supply inspection (MAPA) in relation to the fraudulent release of licenses and irregular inspection of slaughterhouses.
On the same day, 17 March, the Commission asked the Brazilian authorities to urgently provide detailed information on the extent of these allegations and in particular about the products exported to the European Union. Brazil was also asked to immediately suspend certification for exports to EU from establishments implicated in the fraud pending their delisting. The Commission also asked the Brazilian authorities to outline the measures they would propose to address the reliability of the controls and the certification of exports and suggested that the certification of exports from all other establishments eligible to export to the EU should be suspended.
The Commission has asked Member States to maintain a high level of checks on consignments from Brazil and in particular a heightened level of physical checks, including checks for food hygiene. The Commission also requested that consignments from the establishments implicated in the fraud currently "en route" to the EU should be rejected with information to the Commission and other Member States through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).
Thursday March 30, Monday April 3, 2017/ Consilium/ European Union.