The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture confirmed it was investigating a suspected case of mad cow in the central state of Minas Gerais. The situation dating to August 31 caused abattoirs and meatpacking plants to stop the purchase of cattle with an immediate downfall in prices, expected to continue until the situation is cleared.
According to news reports from Brazilian media, the first analysis done to the suspected old cow was positive BSE gene, but a second test did not confirm the case and thus expectations were centered in a third test.
Brazil as a member of Paris based OIE, (World Organization for Animal Health) is obliged to adopt the vigilance, investigation and notification process to the UN office, which manages global information and warnings on animal health and diseases.
Once all the tests have been completed the ministry will make official the results. Apparently the case could be atypical as happened back in 2019 in Matto Grosso state, another important livestock breeding Brazilian state.
The meat industry in Minas Gerais suspended activities waiting for the definitive results. Allegedly the suspicious cow showed some symptoms back in July, but was finally sacrificed, with tissue and blood collected for the tests.
Expectations are that it will be classified as an atypical case that should not create impediments to Brazil's beef exports. In atypical cases, the disease develops spontaneously, and the risk of contamination is minimal. Serious occurrences happen when the ingestion of meat and bone meal, which are prohibited in animal feeding in Brazil. The fact is that there has never been a classic case of “mad cow disease”, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, BSE, in Brazil.
However if the disease is confirmed, Brazil will have to communicate it to its trading partners and may voluntarily and temporarily suspend its exports. In the atypical case of 2019, beef exports to China were suspended for about 15 days.