Agriculture confirms two mad cow cases and suspends beef exports to China

O Ministry of Agriculture confirmed this Saturday, 4, the existence of two atypical cases of “mad cow disease”, as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is known, in slaughterhouses in Nova Canaã do Norte, Mato Grosso, and Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais . In addition to the protocol notifications, the government decided to suspend beef exports from this Saturday to China, following the commitment of the sanitary protocol signed between the two countries.

According to the Secretariat of Agricultural Defense of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (Map), these are the fourth and fifth cases of atypical BSE registered in 23 years of surveillance for the disease – Brazil has never registered the occurrence of a case of classic BSE. Atypical BSE, according to Mapa, occurs spontaneously and sporadically, and is not related to the ingestion of contaminated food. In these cases, the mutation is verified in a single animal. As for the classics, which is related to food contamination, there is the possibility of affecting a greater number of animals in the herd.

“All sanitary risk mitigation actions were completed even before the issuance of the final result by the reference laboratory of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), in Alberta, Canada. Therefore, there is no risk to human and animal health”, says the folder in a statement. The cases were detected during the “ante-mortem” inspection, a procedure used for cull cows that were of advanced age and that were in decubitus in the pens.

The ministry stated that it obtained confirmation yesterday and that Brazil officially notified the World Organization for Animal Health, following the determination of international standards. The suspension of sales to China will continue until the Asian country’s authorities complete the assessment of the information provided on the cases. Two years ago, when Brazil also registered an atypical case of mad cow disease, exports to China were suspended for almost 15 days.

“The Map clarifies that the OIE excludes the occurrence of atypical BSE cases for the purposes of recognizing the country’s official risk status,” the ministry said in a statement. Thus, according to the government, Brazil maintains its classification as a country with an insignificant risk for the disease, not justifying any impact on the trade of animals and their products and by-products.

It is not generalized

According to Pedro de Camargo Neto, rancher, agribusiness consultant and former president of the Brazilian Rural Society, the suspension tends to be temporary, as the cases are atypical, that is, there is nothing generalized. The expert points out that the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture to suspend exports is a way of anticipating the problem. Similar problems have occurred in the past, including in other countries, he stresses.

Now, the focus will be on carrying out exams to prove that the cases are in fact atypical, and, with the documentation in hand, exports are opened again. The advantage with this measure, according to Camargo Neto, is that Brazil has greater control over the situation, thus preventing the suspension from coming from China.