Brazil’s tainted meat exports: MEPs to quiz Commission on EU consumer risks 

How much tainted meat from Brazil has reached EU shores, why did EU border checks fail to reveal apparently systemic food fraud and what impact will this scandal have on ongoing trade talks with Mercosur? These are the questions that MEPs will put to the Commission on Monday evening.

Members of Parliament’s Agriculture Committee on 21 March deplored the lack of credible food safety checks in Brazil and stressed that the EU must do its utmost to protect its consumers. Many also criticised the fact that import checks at EU borders failed to reveal apparently long-standing fraud and demanded remedies.


A two-year investigation by Brazilian Federal Police into two of Brazil’s largest meat processing companies (JBS & BRF) revealed serious fraud and corruption, showing that potentially dangerous meat products were placed in the food chain, thus potentially putting EU consumers at risk.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef and poultry combined. It is also the EU’s largest meat supplier, exporting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of beef and chicken to the EU each year.

In 2015, Brazil supplied the EU with over 140,000 tonnes of beef, or 42.1% of its total beef imports. In 2014, it supplied about 60% of the EU’s 0.8 million tonnes of poultry imports. According to the OECD, the EU consumed almost 7.77 million tonnes of beef in 2015 and more than 12.72 million tonnes of poultry in 2014.

This suggests that imports from Brazil account for about 1.8% of total EU beef and veal consumption and 3.77% of total EU poultry consumption.

Debate: Monday, 4 April

Procedure: Question to the Commission for oral answer