The Brazilian Ministry of Health says there is no risk to human or animal health after discovering two cases of the disease.
Brazil has stopped exporting beef to China after confirming two cases of “atypical” mad cow disease in two separate meat factories.
Stopping beef exports begins immediately, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on Saturday, adding that Beijing is deciding when imports should resume.
The temporary suspension was taken under an existing bilateral protocol between the two countries, although the ministry stressed that there was “no risk to human or animal health”.
Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef, with China its largest customer. More than half of Brazil’s beef exports go to China and Hong Kong.
The two cases were “atypical” as the disease appeared “spontaneously and sporadically, unrelated to the consumption of contaminated food,” the ministry said.
The two cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) were identified during health inspections in Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso states in elderly cattle.
“Brazil has never registered a classic case of BSE,” said the ministry, which officially announced the World Organization for Animal Health.
In June 2019, Brazil also temporarily suspended its exports of cattle to China after an atypical case of BSE was discovered in Mato Grosso in a 17-year-old cow.
Food cow disease first appeared in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and spread to many countries in Europe and around the world, causing consumer alarm and triggering a serious crisis in the beef industry.
The disease was spread widely by farmers who fed cattle meat and bone meal from dead and infected animals.
People then died after contracting the human variant, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, understood to be transmitted by consuming infected beef.
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