Mad Cow Fears Spark Brazilian Beef Ban

by Nate Wooley | December 20, 2012 9:52 am

[1]Several countries are banning Brazilian beef over concerns about possible infection with mad cow disease.

Mad cow disease — also called bovine spongiform encephalopathy — has been detected in a cow from Parana, a state in Brazil. This has led Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Korea, China, South Africa and Japan to ban Brazilian beef on a temporary basis.

The animal that tested positive for the disease died two years ago, not from mad cow disease. Some animals that carry the sickness don’t develop symptoms but can pass it on to others.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef, sending more than 1 million tons of the meat to other countries. While most of the countries currently banning the beef aren’t large importers, Saudi Arabia one of the top 10 buyers of Brazilian meat.

The World Health Organization, which tracks cases of mad cow disease, confirmed the earlier diagnosis but said Brazil is a low-risk country for spreading the illness.

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