September 5, 2003
Uruguay Postpones Imports of Argentine Beef
On Sept 4, Uruguay suspended the import of meat from Argentina after suspected cases of the foot-and-mouth virus in Argentina's northern province of Salta.
Health officials in Paraguay and Bolivia recently reported outbreaks of the disease, sparking concern in a region hit hard by a foot-and-mouth epidemic in 2001. At the weekend, Argentina reported suspected cases of the virus in pigs from Salta. "Until we have official information from Argentina over what are the affected zones and what will be the measures if they are confirmed, we are going to suspend imports," said Hipolito Tapie, a senior government animal health official.
Foot-and-mouth does not affect humans but is devastating to the beef trade. The virus causes sores on the feet and mouths of cloven-hoofed animals, reduces milk and meat production and interferes with reproduction.