December 25, 2003


US Beef Banned in Thailand


Thailand joined the growing list of nations that have banned U.S. beef imports following the discovery of mad cow disease in the U.S.


Imports of cattle and beef products are also banned, said Nirundorn Aungtragoolsuk, acting director for the Bureau of Disease Control and Veterinary Services, which is under the department.


"The official statement on the ban will be released later today," he said.


The ban was in response to reports that the U.S. has discovered its first suspected case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in Washington state, Nirundorn said.


Thailand's ban on U.S. cattle, beef and beef products mirrored action taken by other Asian countries, including Malaysia and Singapore.


Nirundorn said the Thai government has been maintaining a ban on imports of beef from seven European nations since 2000, when the government learned of an outbreak of mad cow disease in several European countries.


"The ban will be applied to imports from any country that is risky for mad cow disease, which is now the U.S.," he said.


Thailand imported 1.4 million kilograms of frozen beef in 2002, 298,526 kilograms of which was U.S. beef and 844,121 kilograms from Australia, according to data from the department.