BRUSSELS, Oct 9 (Reuters) The European Union may resort to a ban on Brazilian meat imports if the South American agricultural giant does not improve food safety standards, the EU's health chief said today ''We do identify weaknesses in Brazil and we have put pressure on Brazil to respond,'' European Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou told members of the European Parliament.
''If the situation does not improve in the timeframe, which is by the end of the year, we will take whatever measures necessary, including the possibility of a ban,'' he said, reiterating a previous warning of tough action.
Irish farmers have been pressing the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, to get tough with their competitors in Brazil for what they say are substandard conditions.
The Brazilian government and the country's farming industry deny the claims of use of illegal growth hormones and say Brazil is implementing the recommendations of EU animal health officials who visited the country in March.
Kyprianou today said he would not hesitate ''to take any measures necessary, no matter how it affects trade, if it affects the health of EU citizens''.
REUTERS SG VC1433