By Lucy Jordan, Senior Contributing Reporter

BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – Brazil’s agriculture ministry said Sunday the country’s beef industry would be thoroughly audited, following a case of mad cow disease that occurred in 2010 in Paraná and emerged last month. Ten countries have suspended or limited imports of beef from Brazil, the world’s largest exporter, because of the scare.

Mad Cow diease in Brazil, Brazil News
Ten countries have suspended or restricted imports of beef from Brazil, the world’s number one exporter, following a 2010 case of mad cow disease in Paraná that emerged last month, photo by ABr.

International Relations Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Celio Porto, told Folha de São Paulo that states would send teams to beef producers to ensure procedures to safeguard cows’ health were being properly followed. The teams would then pass on the results to the ministry.

“We will do a review on all operational procedures to make sure we’re doing everything that is needed to be done,” he reportedly said, adding that World Organization for Animal Health guidelines would be followed.

The audit will start by looking at with possible failures in the fight against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, usually known by its initials BSE or as mad cow disease.

In December, the government confirmed a case of mad cow disease in an animal that died in Paraná in 2010. Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and China subsequently suspended all beef imports from Brazil, including live animals as well as meat. Peru has suspended imports for ninety days. Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Chile have placed restrictions on imports.

The government has said that the case was isolated and does not pose a wider risk to the industry or public health. Decisions to restrict imports have therefore been seen as protectionist measures by Brazil. Speaking to reporters in Brasilia last week, Brazil’s foreign trade secretary Tatiana Prazeres insisted Brazilian beef is safe.

She said that Brazil is considering retaliation at the World Trade Organization (WTO) if the countries do not lift the bans. Brazil, the world’s number one beef exporter, exported US$5.25 billion worth of meat in 2012.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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