Brazil' Ministry of Agriculture confirmed over the weekend the existence of two atypical cases of Bovine Encephalopathy Spongiform, BES, commonly known as mad cow which triggered the immediate temporary suspension of beef exports to China from Sunday 5 September, according to an official release.
One of the cases was identified in an abattoir at Nova Canada do Norte, Matto Grosso state, while the other was known to have been in Minas Gerais. The ministry was investigating both suspicious cases since last week, one of them anticipated as atypical in Minas Gerais.
I want to ensure the population that it is an atypical situation, both cases have been isolated and the ministry has taken the necessary precaution measures, said Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina during the launching of a farm event on Saturday.
These are the fourth and fifth atypical cases of mad cow identified in Brazil during the last 23 years of standing vigilance, added the minister pointing out that Brazil never registered any classic BES case.
Atypical BES occurs spontaneously and sporadically and is in no way is related to contaminated feed provided to cattle. All the sanitary actions, to mitigate the risk have been taken and the situation has been reported to the labs of OIE, Animal Health World Organization in Alberta, Canada. Thus there is no risk for human or animal health, emphasized the minister.
The release also underlines that once the diagnosis was confirmed last Friday, Brazilian beef exports have been temporarily suspended, following international rules.
In the case of China given the sanitary protocol signed by both countries, Brazil suspends temporarily exports to that country, effective Sunday until Chinese authorities assess the situation and information from both cases.
The last time an atypical BES case was identified in Brazil was in 2019, in an abattoir in Matto Grosso state, and exports were suspended for thirteen days. China and Hong Kong absorb 59% of all Brazilian beef exported, according to Abrafrigo, the meatpacking industry association.
The Brazilian ministry further reported that OIE did not include the atypical BES cases in the acknowledgement of the country's status referred to the disease.
”This means that Brazil retains its certification as a country free of BES, which should not have an impact on bovine products trade.
Furthermore, the ministry said that both suspicious cases were detected during the pre-slaughter inspection and in both cases, they were old cows that have been discarded.