The European Union (EU) is to order its member countries to reduce from 100% to 20% the frequency of checks carried out on poultry and poultry meat consignments from Brazil to detect residues of the banned anti-biotic nitrofuran.

Blanket inspections have been held since October 2002, following the detection of the drug in Brazilian poultry, however, the European Commission has said that no nitrofuran has been discovered in Brazilian poultry meat or poultry meat products since August 2003.

The EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health has now approved a Commission proposal to reduce the number of the checks, easing import controls.