BRASILIA, Brazil, Dec 18, 2012 (AFP) -
BRASILIA, Brazil, Dec 18, 2012 (AFP) –
Egypt and Saudi Arabia have become the latest countries to suspend imports of Brazilian beef over a two-year-old case of mad cow disease.
The two Middle Eastern nations on Monday joined Japan, China and South Africa in temporarily halting their imports, a Foreign Ministry official said.
Brazilian officials insist that there is no risk whatsoever to public health or to animal hygiene from the lone case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) that was detected in an animal that died in 2010 in the southern state of Parana.
Several countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Portugal and Britain, also have recorded atypical cases of BSE, they noted.
With nearly 200 million head of cattle, Brazil is a leading beef exporter with some 180 countries as customers this year.
Between January and October, it exported one million tons of beef, mainly to Russia, the agriculture ministry said.
Other major customers of Brazilian beef are China and Hong Kong. Brazil is a member of the BRICS bloc of emerging powers, which also includes China, India, Russia and South Africa.