Chile and Jordan are the latest countries to ban Brazilian beef in light of ‘Mad Cow’ case
In a follow-up to a Dec. 9 story, Chile and Jordan join China, Japan, South Africa and Saudi Arabia in banning beef imports from the world’s No. 1 beef exporter, Brazil after the disclosure of a case of atypical mad cow disease in early December, according to a Reuters report Jan. 2.
However, officials in Brazil insist that their beef is safe and they say there is “no basis” for the bans. In fact, if the bans aren’t lifted, a Brazilian official said, “Taking action at the World Trade Organization (WTO) is on our radar.”
Is there no basis for the beef ban as the Brazilians say? The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) seems to agree with Brazil. In a Q & A press release Dec. 20, the OIE states:
Eating red meat (i.e. deboned skeletal muscle meat) poses no risk to consumers, regardless of the BSE risk status of the cattle population of the producing country. Besides, in this case in Brazil, the dead animal was destroyed and did not enter the food or feed chain.
The OIE has defined a transparent, science-based and impartial procedure for the recognition of BSE risk status of Member Countries. Brazil is recognized as having a negligible BSE risk i.e. the most favorable category.
This all stems from a case, where in Dec. 2010, a 13-year-old cow exhibited limb stiffness in the city of Sertanopolis, Parana state. The animal died and later tested positive for the disease some 18 months after the animal died.
According to Reuters, Officials from the Secretary for Animal and Plant Health at Brazil’s farm ministry said on Dec. 21 that Brazil would give the countries that curbed its beef imports until March before pursuing legal action at the WTO.