SAO PAULO: ARAB NEWS
Published — Wednesday 19 December 2012
Last update 19 December 2012 4:33 am
The Kingdom has suspended imports of Brazilian beef and became the largest country to stop purchases after confirmation of a 2010 case of atypical mad cow disease, Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry said yesterday.
The decision follows Egypt’s ban of beef on Monday from Parana state, where a cow that died two years ago had developed atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, according to Reuters. Egypt will continue to import from other states.
Between January and October, Saudi Arabia imported 31,300 tons of beef, putting it among the top 10 largest importers from Brazil, the world’s largest beef exporter.
But top buyers Russia and Hong Kong continue to import its beef, suggesting the impact could be limited.
Prior to Saudi Arabia, only Japan, China and South Africa had halted imports of all Brazilian beef since Brazil announced on Dec. 7 that a 13-year-old cow that died in 2010 in Parana tested positive for the protein linked to the development of BSE.
The cow, which was kept for breeding purposes, never developed BSE and died of other causes. But it tested positive for the causal agent for BSE, a protein called a prion, which can arise spontaneously in elderly cattle.