BRASILIA Dec 27 Egypt never restricted
Brazilian beef imports after the confirmation of a case of
atypical mad cow disease in the world's top exporter of the
meat, Brazil's agriculture ministry said on Thursday, retracting
an earlier statement.
The ministry said on Dec. 17 that Egypt, a major importer of
Brazilian meat, had suspended imports from the Brazilian state
of Parana, where the case was confirmed.
South Africa, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia have
banned imports of Brazilian beef since local media reported the
case earlier this month.
Brazilian diplomats in Egypt had reported back to their
government in mid-December that Egypt would impose a partial or
full suspension on beef imports from Brazil, but Brazilian
officials said on Thursday there had been a misunderstanding.
The agriculture ministry clarified in a statement that Egypt
had never banned beef imports from Brazil.
Brazil has been scrambling to reassure buyers of its beef
over the case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy
(BSE), which was confirmed this month in an elderly cow that
died in 2010 of other causes and never entered the food chain.
The 13-year-old grass-fed animal, which had been kept for
breeding purposes, never developed BSE but tested positive for
the protein that causes the disease.
Brazil has been at pains to distinguish this case of
"atypical BSE", 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 caused by contaminated animal
The Paris-based World Animal Health Organization, which
confirmed the atypical BSE diagnosis, has maintained Brazil's
status as a beef producer with negligible risk of the disease.
On that basis, Brazil has said it will give the importing
nations that have restricted imports of its beef until March to
end those measures or it plans to pursue legal action through
the World Trade Organization.
Russia, Brazil's single biggest buyer of beef, has not