SAO PAULO Dec 7 Brazil's Agriculture Ministry
said on Friday that the country had registered no cases of mad
cow disease, denying reports on some local media websites that
said the disease had cropped up in the southern state of Parana
two years ago.
In a statement on its website, the ministry said a cow that
died in Parana in 2010 had tested positive for prions, the
proteins believed to cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy, as
the disease is formally called.
But the statement went on to say that the animal did not die
of BSE and did not have symptoms of the disease.
"The World Animal Health Organization (OIE) in an official
communication maintains the classification of Brazil as a
country with insignificant risk of BSE," the statement said.
In 2010, the ministry had also denied reports of a case of
mad cow disease after news agencies picked up on the story. The
government said it would provide further details on the case
later on Friday at a news conference.
A story posted on the website of financial newspaper Valor
Economico early on Friday said the cow in Parana had probably
died of mad cow disease.
The outbreak of mad cow disease in Europe, North America and
Japan a decade ago prompted beef importers to embargo shipments
and caused temporary chaos in the industry. Brazil is the
world's largest beef exporter.
(Reporting by Reese Ewing and Gustavo Bonato; Editing by Lisa