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Commission Statement, 3 April 2017
Today, I had the opportunity to debrief the Ministers of Agriculture on my visit to Brazil last week and on the latest state of play on the deficiencies in the Brazilian meat sector.
First of all, I underlined to the Ministers my personal commitment to ensure the respect of the EU food safety standards and the protection of public health in the European Union. This commitment was at the core of my discussion with the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Mr Maggi, last Tuesday, on 28 March. (and also Minister of Health.)
Our exchange was frank, and my message was clear: the safety of food products exported to the EU is not something optional. I stressed that it is up to Brazil to restore trust in its meat exports, by ensuring the reliability, predictability, credibility and independence of the Brazilian food safety controls.
I also reminded Ministers of the swift measures we took as soon as the investigation became public.
These measures continue to be in place and my services are working closely with the Brazilian authorities in order to undertake audits to Brazil as soon as possible (preferably before mid-May).
I want also to reassure citizens that all consignments from the establishments implicated in the fraud currently on the way to the EU will be rejected and returned to Brazil.
The Commission is in close contact with the Member States to ensure a harmonised approach as regards reinforced checks at the point of entry to the EU (the Border Inspection Posts).
Thanks to the solid set of EU legislation and to the fact that we impose strict hygiene and safety controls on food imports the European Union has one of the world's highest food safety standards. We will make sure this is respected without exception.
This is also the message I will share with the members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg tonight.