Nations from Australia to Latvia slapped bans on European Union meat and livestock Wednesday, restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of a virulent disease that has cropped up among farm animals in France and Britain.
Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Norway were the latest countries to announce bans on imports of livestock and meat products from the 15-nation EU after foot-and-mouth disease was found Tuesday among cattle in northwestern France.
Japan, Estonia and Latvia on Wednesday announced that they were banning livestock products from France. Belgium, Spain and Portugal closed their borders to French meat and livestock earlier in the week.
Some countries even said they would return meat and dairy products to France, which could cause an immediate $27.9-million loss in export business, according to Claude Thieblemont of the French Federation of Meat Industries and Commerce.
"Our clients have told us they will refuse our products," he said.
In the Netherlands, which has more pigs and cows than people, the restrictions brought the billion-dollar livestock export business to a standstill. The Product Board for Livestock, Meat and Eggs said the Netherlands will be among the hardest-hit countries in Europe.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said no country is safe from foot-and-mouth disease because of increased international trade, tourism and the movement of animals and animal products.