CM – Beef giant Brazil halts exports to China after two cases of mad cow disease were confirmed

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The suspension is a severe blow to Brazilian farmers: China and Hong Kong buy more than half of Brazil’s beef exports.

Nayara Figueiredo

Brazil, the world’s largest beef exporter, has beef exports to its customers No. 1 China suspended after two cases of « atypical » mad cow disease were confirmed in two separate domestic meat plants, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Saturday.

The suspension, which is part of an animal health pact agreed between China and Brazil, will give Beijing time to take stock of the problem begins immediately, the ministry said in a statement. China will decide when to start importing again, it added.

The suspension is a severe blow to Brazilian farmers: China and Hong Kong buy more than half of Brazil’s beef exports.

The cases were found in meat plants in the states of Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais, said the ministry. It is the fourth and fifth cases of « atypical » mad cow disease discovered in Brazil for 23 years.

It is said that « atypical » mad cow disease develops spontaneously and is not related to the consumption of contaminated food. Brazil has never had a case of « classic » mad cow disease, it said. The two cases were confirmed Friday after samples were sent to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) laboratory in Alberta, Canada the ministry with. The OIE was then informed of the two cases in accordance with international standards, the ministry said.

The Brazilian government hopes that the lock will be lifted quickly. The country’s high performing agricultural sector is one of the main drivers of the country’s long lagging economy. China is Brazil’s most important trading partner and buys large quantities of its raw materials.

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