* Chile, Jordan latest to ban beef imports
* Cow that died in 2010 had atypical BSE
BRASILIA Jan 2 Six countries have banned
imports of Brazilian beef, including No. 6 importer Chile, since
a case of atypical mad cow disease was confirmed last month,
Brazil's foreign trade secretary Tatiana Prazeres said on
Brazil, the world's No. 1 beef exporter, is considering
retaliation at the World Trade Organization (WTO) if the
countries do not lift the bans, Prazeres told reporters in
Brasilia, insisting that Brazilian beef is safe to eat.
"There is no basis for these decisions on health parameters
and the government is analyzing what measures will be taken,"
she said. "Taking action at the WTO is on our radar."
China, Japan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Chile and Jordan
have informed Brazil about their export bans since the World
Animal Health Organization (OIE) said a cow that died in 2010
had atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), she said.
Chile imported 62,600 tonnes of beef from Brazil between
January and November 2012, according to the agriculture
ministry. It imports the most beef among the countries that have
banned Brazilian beef.
Prazeres estimated that 4.4 percent of the country's total
beef exports have been affected by the bans. Even with the
measures, however, beef exports rose to 83,700 tonnes in
December compared with 82,700 in November and 63,100 a year
earlier according to trade ministry data released on Wednesday.
The 13-year-old grass-fed cow, which had been kept for
breeding in the state of Parana, never developed BSE, commonly
known as mad cow disease, but it tested positive for the protein
that causes the disease.
The Paris-based OIE, which confirmed the atypical BSE
diagnosis, has maintained Brazil's status as a beef producer
with negligible risk of mad cow disease.
Officials from the Secretary for Animal and Plant Health at
Brazil's farm ministry said on Dec. 21 that Brazil would give
the countries that curbed its beef imports until March before
pursuing legal action at the WTO.
Brazil launched a diplomatic offensive to distinguish
"atypical BSE," which is caused by a random genetic mutation
more common in elderly cattle, from BSE cases in the 1980s and
1990s in Britain and elsewhere in Europe that were caused by
contaminated animal feed.