Brazil confirms case of BSE, suspends beef exports

News StaffSeptember 8, 2021Agriculture News

BRASILIA, ‎DISTRITO FEDERAL – Brazil, the world’s largest beef exporter, has suspended beef exports to its No. 1 customer China after confirming two cases of “atypical” mad cow disease in two separate domestic meat plants, the agriculture ministry said on Saturday.

The country’s ag ministry says it confirmed two cases of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in two separate domestic meat plants on Sunday in the states of Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais.

As part of a health pact between Brazil and China, the two countries will suspend trading immediately and allow China to decide when to import meat again.

The ministry says these cases were the fourth and fifth cases of atypical BSE detected in Brazil in 23 years. The last case was detected in 2019. Atypical BSE develops spontaneously and isn’t related to eating contaminated foods. The country has never had a case of “classic” BSE.

In a report filed with the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) of the United Nations, a sample was taken from an 11-year-old beef cow destined for emergency slaughter. After detection of the presence of prion antigens at the National Agricultural Defense Laboratory of the state of Pernambuco (LFDA/PE), the samples were sent to the OIE Reference Laboratory for BSE at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in Lethbridge, Alberta, which confirmed the positive test Sept. 3, 2021.

Atypical BSE occurs spontaneously and sporadically and is not related to the consumption of contaminated foods.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef, with China its biggest customer. More than half of Brazil’s beef export goes to China and Hong Kong.