The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed two records of the disease known as mad cow disease. Two atypical, isolated cases of cattle that were never sold. That is, without risk to public health.
The ministry identified one case in a slaughterhouse in Belo Horizonte and the other in Nova Canaã do Norte, Mato Grosso. The ministry highlighted that the contamination of animals occurred spontaneously and sporadically, and is not related to the ingestion of contaminated food. And that all health risk reduction actions have been completed.
“It is the mission of the ministry to inspect, inspect, because we work with food and we need to assure the Brazilian people and the world, to the countries that we export, that our food is healthy. It is an atypical case, there is no problem for public health”, says Tereza Cristina, Minister of Agriculture.
The Instituto Mineiro de Agropecuária stated that it carried out the emergency slaughter of the sick animal and closed the farm of origin. And the Institute of Agricultural Defense of Mato Grosso said that it monitors the situation.
The export of beef to China was suspended in compliance with a protocol between the two countries. The measure is temporary until Chinese authorities complete the assessment of information about the cases.
Mad cow disease can manifest itself in two ways. In the classic case, there is a contamination of the bovine through the rations it eats, made with animal protein. This ration is prohibited in Brazil. And in the atypical form, an animal’s protein mutates. The cases of Minas and Mato Grosso are atypical, they happened in old-aged cull animals.
For veterinarians there is no risk of contamination of humans:
“This animal did not enter the consumption chain, and the atypical form is very few cases, not only in Brazil, but worldwide. There is still no report of this atypical transmission precisely because the surveillance, prevention and control system is very effective”, explains Maria Isabel Guedes, a professor at the UFMG veterinary school.
Since surveillance for the disease began in Brazil, 23 years ago, there have been five cases of mad cow disease. All atypical.