An audit from the EU’s Food and Veterinary Office’s (FVO) audit of Brazil has found what it described as shocking shortcomings in the country’s production of horsemeat destined for Europe.
The report found that a high number of animals were either dead or in a “state of extreme weakness” on arrival at slaughterhouses – a clear violation of animal welfare law that a country must adhere to if it exports meat to the EU.
In addition to the state in which the horses were transported to abattoirs, the report found “shortcomings” in food safety and traceability issues.
The FVO report said Brazil’s implementation of a residue monitoring plan for horses in 2014-15 could not meet EU food safety standards.
In light of this evidence, the Humane Society International has called on the EU to stop importing horsemeat from Brazil.
Consumer health risk
“Once again, a Food and Veterinary Office audit has corroborated our repeated warnings that horsemeat imported from non-EU countries fails to comply with EU food safety standards,” said Dr Joanna Swabe, EU executive director at Humane Society International. “It is time the European Commission halted the import of Brazilian horsemeat, which poses potential health risks to EU consumers and causes the suffering of horses ending up in the Brazilian slaughter pipeline.”
In 2010, the EU passed a law requiring that horses slaughtered for export to Europe met certain standards: this included a full lifetime medical treatment history and medicinal treatment records that satisfied veterinary medicine withdrawal periods.