Food FYI: Brazil beef ban expands amid mad cow fears

Food FYI: Brazil beef ban expands amid mad cow fears
Cattle in western Brazil.
(AFP/Getty Images)

The ban on beef from Brazil’s Parana state is spreading. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and South Korea join China, South Africa and Japan in not buying beef from the region after Brazil revealed the discovery of a cow with proteins that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known as mad cow disease. 

Brazil’s agriculture ministry reported this month that the cow died two years ago but said the animal did not die of the disease, according to a Reuters report. Animals classified as having “atypical BSE,” such as in this case, may or may not develop full-blown BSE disease.


China, South Africa and Japan aren’t major importers of Brazilian beef; in the first 10 months of 2012, the three countries imported 11,700 tons of beef from Brazil, said Fox News. The South American country is the world’s largest beef exporter and had total exports of 1 million tons during that period.

But Saudi Arabia is among the top 10 importers of beef from Brazil.


A similar case of atypical BSE occurred in California earlier this year. Like the cow in Parana, that one never entered the food chain; there was no major effect on U.S. beef exports.

The World Animal Health Organization confirmed the Brazil case of atypical BSE but also issued a statement maintaining its status as a low-risk country for mad cow disease.


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