OFFICIALS from Saudi Arabia have confirmed that their government has banned imports of beef from Brazil over worries about the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), according to South American reports.
In addition, Japan, China and South Africa all have restricted imports of beef from Brazil. Egypt blocked imports of beef from Brazil's Parana state but said it will continue to buy product from other states.
South Korea joined the list last Wednesday.
In 2010, a 13-year-old cow died in Parana and it was just confirmed to have had "atypical" BSE. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reported the findings Dec. 6, confirming an earlier positive BSE diagnosis found by Brazil's National Reference Laboratory in Recife, Pernambuco.
"The epidemiological investigation shows that the animal's death was not caused by BSE and suggests that it may be an atypical case of the disease occurring in the oldest animals," OIE reported.
OIE said it still recognizes Brazil as having a "negligible BSE risk," as mandated by the organization's animal health code. This normally means that the BSE finding should not affect trade in Brazilian beef.