Brazil Suspends Beef Exports to China due to Mad Cow Outbreak

Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of beef, has suspended beef exports to China, its biggest customer, due to mad cow disease found in two separate domestic meat plants on Saturday. 

Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture said there was no risk to humans or animals, but the suspension was part of an existing bilateral health protocol between China and Brazil.

The ministry confirmed identifying the two bovine spongiform encephalopathies (BSE) during health inspections in aged cattle in Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso.

“Brazil has never recorded a classic case of BSE,” the ministry said.

The ministry added that China would decide when to begin importing again.

The discovery of mad cow disease is a blow to Brazil and will restrict beef movements around the world, ABC Rural reported.

China sourced about 40% of its beef from Brazil, making the trade suspension likely to increase beef prices. 

Simon Wong Ka-wo, President of the Hongkong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said the price of frozen meat in retail could increase up to 30% as importers of Brazil meat would gradually increase the price. 

However, Hui Wai-kin, Fresh Beef Traders Alliance Convener, said the supply of fresh beef to Hongkong would not be affected because the United States, Britain, and Argentina would continue to export frozen beef to Hongkong.

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