Brazil beef exports to China halted after case of mad cow disease

Brazil’s beef exports to China were halted after a case of mad cow disease was confirmed in the northern state of Para, the country’s agriculture and livestock ministry said.

The suspension, starting Thursday, 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.

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

A case of the disease, formally called bovine spongiform encephalitis, was confirmed earlier by Para’s agricultural defense 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.

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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.

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