Brazil to halt beef exports to China following BSE case

China is Brazil's biggest buyer of beef
calendar icon 23 February 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Brazil's beef exports to China will be halted starting Thursday after a case of bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE), also referred to as mad cow disease, was confirmed in the northern state of Para, the country's agriculture and livestock ministry said on Wednesday, according to Reuters

The suspension is part of an animal health pact previously agreed between China and Brazil and is expected to be temporary. It is a blow to Brazilian farmers, as China is the main destination for Brazil's beef exports.

"All measures are being taken immediately at each stage of the investigation and the matter is being handled with total transparency to guarantee Brazilian and global consumers the recognized quality of our meat," said Minister Carlos Favaro.

A case of the disease was confirmed earlier by Para's agricultural defence agency.

"The symptomatology indicates that it is the atypical form of the disease, which appears spontaneously in nature, causing no risk of dissemination to the herd and to humans," the agency said in a statement.

The sick animal was on a property with 160 head of cattle in the southeast of the state. The site has been inspected and preventively interdicted, the agency added.

Samples were sent to the World Organization for Animal Health lab in Alberta, Canada, to confirm whether it was the classic form of the disease or its "atypical" version.

In 2021, two cases of the disease triggered a suspension in beef exports to China that lasted more than three months.

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