After getting the confirmation of two separate cases of "atypical" mad cow disease in two meat plants, Brazil has suspended its exportation of beef to its largest market, China.

Atypical Mad Cow Disease in Brazil

The Latin American nation Brazil is the largest exporter of beef in the world. Its meat packing companies, particularly Marfrig and JBS, have profited in the rising market of protein in China.

According to Financial Times, the agriculture ministry of Brazil said that they have confirmed the fourth and fifth cases of "atypical" mad cow disease in 23 years. On Saturday, Brazil's shipments of beef to China were totally shut down after two cases of mad cow disease were identified in the states of Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso.

The two separate incidents were considered by the ministry "atypical" after they "occur spontaneously and sporadically and are not related to the ingestion of contaminated food," Al Jazeera reported.

Also, the Brazilian agriculture ministry clarified that there was "no risk to human and animal health," and the two cases of mad cow diseases had been detected during inspection prior to the slaughter.

Moreover, Brazil has never reported a case of "classic" mad cow disease, according to the ministry.

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Brazil's Beef Exportation to China

Meat industry analyst Simon Quilty stated that the incident would make the supply of beef worldwide very tight as the industry approaches its strongest period of demand for the year globally, ABC reported.

Quilty added that Brazil has an expiration average of 71,000 tonnes of beef to China monthly. The beef market expected that exports would be suspended for at least two weeks.

Despite its demand, the suspension of exports will remain in effect until authorities in China finalize their assessment of the cases.

From January to July this year, exportations of beef from Brazil to China reached a total of 490,000 tons and were translated to a total sales of US$2.4bn.

Based on the data from the Brazilian Meat Exporting Industry Association, the recent number showed an increase of 8.6 percent and 13.8 percent, respectively, compared to the numbers in the same period last year.

Last year, China suspended its importation from a number of Brazilian meat processing plants due to concerns of COVID-19 outbreaks in the facilities that might have risked importing the virus into the country.

However, executives from Brazilian meat companies at the time called the decision an "overreaction." The move backfired to the Asian country after meat prices increased in China and food price inflation uptick.

Furthermore, Brazil's agriculture ministry said that world animal health authorities exclude the occurrence of atypical cases of mad cow in assessing a country's official risk status. The ministry added that Brazil maintained its classification as a country with an insignificant risk for the disease.

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This article is owned by Latin Post

Written by: Jess Smith

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