June 24, 2004



Argentina Bans Some Brazilian Beef On Foot-And-Mouth Concern


Argentina has temporarily banned imports of animals susceptible to the foot-and-mouth disease, as well as animal products and byproducts from Brazil," Argentina's animal health agency, Senasa, said Wednesday.


It was not immediately clear how long the ban will last.


"The duration of this is subject to the sanitary measures and epidemiological work to be undertaken by authorities in our neighboring country," Senasa said.


Brazilian Agriculture Ministry officials said last week that three animals had been diagnosed with foot-and-mouth disease on a farm in the northern state of Para.


This is the first foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in 34 months in Brazil, which was on track to become the world's No. 1 beef exporter this year.


However, industry analysts in both countries said the outbreak is unlikely to have a major impact on Brazilian beef exports, as that it took place in a region that does not even export.


Argentina's ban is also unlikely to have a big impact on commerce because the trade of relevant animals and animal products between the counties is limited.


Foot-and-mouth disease, which normally strikes cloven-hoofed ruminants such as sheep, pigs, goats and cows, is a highly contagious illness that can be spread through contact with infected animals, farm equipment or meat.


The disease can be fatal in animals, but should not be harmful to humans.


Brazilian exports of beef and pork products to Argentina are not included among the top 100 goods sold to Argentina each year.