Brussels has been accused of deliberately dragging its heels on Brazilian beef imports and gambling with farmers fortunes after damning details were published from a veterinary inspection of the country.

The EU's Food and Veterinary Office visited Brazil last January but has only just released its findings. It found animal identification was still haphazard, with poor traceability back from the exporting farm.

"It is very worrying how long it has taken them to report back," said NFU chief livestock adviser Peter King. There was little to stop foot and mouth disease coming to Britain in a consignment of Brazilian beef, he added.

King is calling for the EU to ban it. "If freezing and deboning is enough to eliminate the risk, why have 50 countries still banned Brazilian beef imports? With the government looking to pass the costs of dealing with disease outbreaks back to farmers, we shouldn't be taking such a risk."