The European Commission has demanded that Mexico and Brazil provide a scientific explanation for a new ban on reproductive livestock material imports from the EU.
The two countries have banned imports of genetic material from the EU over concerns related to the Schmallenberg Virus, which has been detected in livestock in Britain, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain.
The European Commission has sent a letter to the Mexican and Brazilian authorities explaining that the virus has not triggered recommendations for any trade restrictions by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on live animals and animal-related products.
Aikaterini Apostola, spokeswoman for the European Commission’s health directorate general said Brussels would continue to circulate information to non-EU governments about the low level of risk involved in importing consignments of semen and embryos from the EU.
However, the Mexican government told Globalmeatnews.com it was not convinced: “The measures taken by Mexico will continue as long as we don’t have an answer from the EU about the steps that it will take to control the virus so it won’t be a risk any more to animal health,” said Gerardo Izzo, press attaché at the Mexican embassy to the EU in Brussels.
The ban could prove expensive. If maintained to the end of the year by both Mexico and Brazil, EU exporters could lose €14.6 million’s worth of exports.