BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil expects the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to declare the country free from foot-and-mouth disease with vaccinations at a meeting in May, according to a government statement on Friday.
The declaration will bolster the country’s prospects to export meat to new markets, the statement said.
The OIE already considers most of Brazil to be free of foot-and-mouth but the declaration would extend certification to the remote states of Amazonas, Roraima and Amapa.
OIE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef but its access to many top-tier markets remains limited by concerns over the introduction of the disease which causes fever, mouth blisters and foot ruptures in cows and other animals.
The disease, often fatal to animals, can infect humans, although it is extremely rare.
The government is next starting on a project to be certified free of foot-and-mouth without vaccination by 2022 or 2023, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi told government-run news service Agencia Brasil in a broadcast late on Thursday.
“It will open up a very large market. And not only for the beef market, but also for pork,” Maggi told the broadcaster.
Japan, for example, does not buy meat from Brazil and the United States will not allow meat with the bone, due to risk of the disease, he said.
Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Matthew Lewis