The Agricultural Defense Secretariat of Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (Map) released a statement of clarification this Saturday, 4, confirming the occurrence of two atypical cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a disease known as “mad cow disease”. The animals were in slaughterhouses in Nova Canaã do Norte (MT) and Belo Horizonte (MG).
As the text of the Map clarifies, the atypical cases of the disease occur spontaneously and sporadically and are not related to ingestion of contaminated food.. The ministry informs that all health 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. Thus, concludes, there is no risk to human and animal health.
The two cases of mad cow disease – one in each establishment – were detected during ante-mortem inspection (with the animals still alive). These are cull cows, which were of advanced age.
These would be the fourth and fifth cases of atypical BSE reported in more than 23 years of surveillance for the disease. Brazil has never registered the occurrence of a classic BSE case.
OIE and China
The Map also informs that, after the confirmation, which took place this Friday, 3, in Canada, Brazil officially notified the OIE, as provided for by international standards.
In the case of China, in compliance with the sanitary protocol signed between the country and Brazil, beef exports are temporarily suspended (see letter below). The measure, which takes effect from this Saturday, will take place until the Chinese authorities conclude the evaluation of the information already passed on about the cases.
The text of the note also clarifies that the OIE excludes the occurrence of atypical BSE cases for the purposes of recognizing the country’s official risk status. Thus, 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”, informs the ministry.
“Atypical cases have an insignificant health risk. It’s a degenerative form [da doença], really old animal”, said the president of the Association of Breeders of Mato Grosso (Acrimat), Oswaldo Pereira Ribeiro Júnior. “We expect that in a matter of weeks the market should already be released”.
For the entity’s technical director, Francisco Manzi, the episode demonstrated the experience of the Ministry of Agriculture’s sanitary surveillance, which would have quickly identified the disease, which could have put the Brazilian herd and the quality of the meat obtained in the country at risk. According to him, immediately suspending exports, until the buyer nations can approve the process carried out by the Ministry, is proof of the country’s transparency.
“Just like the other cases [da doença] happened, soon [espero que] our meat can once again be part of the table of the most demanding consumers in terms of quality and health in the world”, said Manzi.