Japan has suspended imports of meat from Brazil after a cow in Parana state tested positive for mad cow disease.
“We suspended imports from Brazil as soon as an outbreak of BSE was confirmed,” the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Saturday, referring to bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the formal name of the brain-wasting disease.
Japan, which imported 1,435 metric tons of Brazilian beef last year, will seek supplies from alternative exporters such as the United States and Australia. Other nations may follow suit, bolstering cattle futures in Chicago that rallied to a record last month.
Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture said Friday that tests on a 13-year-old cow that died in Parana in 2010 showed it carried the “causing agent of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.”
The animal did not develop the disease, nor did the agent cause its death, according to the Brazilian government.
Shipments from Brazil were limited to 0.3 percent of Japan’s beef imports last year as meat from the South American country must be heat-treated before arrival on concerns about foot-and-mouth disease. Japan imported 240,815 tons of beef in the first half of 2012, with 24 percent coming from the U.S., according to the ministry. Australia was the largest supplier at 153,938 tons.
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