December 18, 2012


Egypt to ban beef imports from Parana, Brazil



Egypt will suspend beef imports from the Brazilian state of Parana where a case of atypical mad cow disease was confirmed this month.


Russia, Hong Kong and Egypt, which took more than half of the 896,000 tonnes of beef that Brazil has exported this year through September, continue to import its beef. Hong Kong has so far imposed no restriction on imports of Brazilian beef.


The head of Russia's VPSS animal and food safety agency said it was unlikely to ban all Brazilian beef imports over BSE concerns, but if restrictions were imposed, they would more likely apply only to Parana state where the sample originated.


Russia has not imported Brazilian beef, chicken or pork from Parana, Rio Grande do Sul or Mato Grosso states for about a year, after it closed imports from those states over sanitary concerns. Russia still imported more than 212,000 tonnes of beef over the first nine months of 2012 from other states in Brazil.


Brazil's agriculture ministry confirmed Egypt's suspension of beef purchases after the Valor Economico newspaper reported earlier in the day that Brazil's embassy in Cairo was verbally notified by Egyptian authorities.


Egypt bought more than 99,000 tonnes of beef through September from Brazil.


So far only Japan, China and South Africa have halted imports of all Brazilian beef since Brazil announced on December 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 elderly cow, which was kept for breeding purposes, never developed BSE and died of other causes. However, it tested positive for the causal agent for BSE, a protein called a prion, which can arise spontaneously in elderly cattle.

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