Brazil suspends beef exports to China due to mad cow disease


Brazil’s economic dynamics

After two cases of “atypical” mad cow disease were confirmed at different meat processing plants this weekend, Brazil has suspended beef exports to its largest market, China.

Latin American countries are the largest in the world beef Exporters and their meat packaging companies, especially JBS and Marfrig, have profited from China’s booming protein market.

Data from Brazil shows that from January to July this year, Brazil exported 490,000 tons of beef to China, with sales of US$2.4 billion, an increase of 8.6% and 13.8% year-on-year respectively. Brazilian Meat Export Industry Association.

But on Saturday, after two cases of mad cow disease were detected in Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais states, shipments stopped completely. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this is the fourth and fifth case of “atypical” mad cow disease in 23 years.

The Ministry of Health stated that these incidents were considered “atypical” because they “occurred spontaneously and sporadically and had nothing to do with the intake of contaminated food”, adding that “there is no risk to human and animal health”. The case has been discovered. During the inspection before the animal is slaughtered.

According to the ministry, Brazil has never reported a case of “classic” mad cow disease.

The export suspension will remain effective until the Chinese authorities assess the case and decide whether to resume trade.

Last year, China suspended imports from several Brazilian meat processing plants because of concerns that the Covid-19 outbreak in these facilities might bring the virus back to the country.

At the time, Brazilian meat company executives called the decision an “overreaction.” This has led to rising meat prices and food price inflation in China.

The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture stated that the world animal health authorities ruled out the occurrence of atypical mad cow cases when assessing the official risk profile of a country.

It added: “In this way, Brazil classifies it as a country with a negligible risk of the disease, not a reason for any impact on the trade of animals and their products and by-products”.


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