Saudi Arabia lifts suspension of Brazil meat imports from five plants

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SAO PAULO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has lifted a suspension of Brazilian meat imports from five meatpackers imposed this month after two cases of mad cow disease, according to Brazil's Agriculture Ministry and a document seen by Reuters.

The SFDA document, dated Thursday, shows that the five plants are now authorized to ship beef to Saudi Arabia.

Brazil's Agriculture Ministry confirmed to Reuters that the Saudi government has lifted its suspension.

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Brazil, the world's largest beef exporter, has seen sales to some countries, including No. 1 customer China, halted over the disease.

Two cases of so-called atypical mad cow disease, which develops spontaneously and is not related to animals eating contaminated foods, were identified in meat plants in the states of Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais, the ministry has said.

It says it is no risk to animal or human health.

Data from the Abiec meat exporters association shows that Saudi Arabia is the No. 9 buyer of Brazilian beef.

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Reporting by Nayara Figueiredo in Sao Paulo Writing by Gabriel Stargardter Editing by Matthew Lewis

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