WINNIPEG, Manitoba – China and the Philippines have suspended imports of Canadian beef due to Canada’s detection in December of a cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a spokesperson said Monday (Jan. 10) from the Canadian Department of Agriculture.
The measures follow a suspension of imports by South Korea last month, after Canada reported its first case of BSE in six years.
China is the world’s largest importer of beef and veal and Canada’s third-largest export market, according to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). China took similar action against Brazil after the country confirmed cases of BSE, before resuming imports in December after a three-month hiatus.
BSE is a fatal disease of the nervous system in cattle.
Canada, the eighth-largest exporter of beef and veal, reported the case of BSE in December in an 8.5-year-old beef cow in the province of Alberta.
The last case in Canada is atypical, meaning it is a form of BSE that can occur naturally in older cattle, as opposed to classic BSE, which is caused by an animal eating contaminated food.
The three countries that are suspending Canadian imports are seeking more information on the case, said Dennis Laycraft, executive vice president of the CCA.
The disruption did not have a noticeable impact on Canadian prices, he said.
“We expect these (suspensions) to be short-lived,” Laycraft said. “We managed to get out of it. “
The cow was euthanized on the farm and did not enter the food or animal chain, according to the Canadian government.
The first confirmed Canadian case of BSE, a classic form, was detected in 2003, leading to the closure of about 40 export markets. Many have long since reopened.
(Report by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg edited by Chris Reese)