Mad cow disease drives Asian nations to halt beef imports from Canada

12 January 2022 - 09:00 By Jen Skerritt and Sybilla Gross
China, South Korea and the Philippines have temporarily halted imports of beef from Canada, where an ‘atypical’ case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was reported. File photo.
China, South Korea and the Philippines have temporarily halted imports of beef from Canada, where an ‘atypical’ case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was reported. File photo.
Image: Aurélie Le Moigne/123rf.com

The discovery of a case of mad cow disease has prompted some Asian countries to suspend imports of Canadian beef, a move that could further disrupt the global meat trade already rocked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

China, South Korea and the Philippines have temporarily halted imports of beef from Canada, where an “atypical” case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, was reported. 

An atypical case is rare and happens spontaneously, as opposed to classical cases caused by contaminated feed. The cow was euthanised on the farm and did not enter the food or animal feed chain, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Tuesday. 

The discovery of a case of mad cow disease has prompted some Asian countries to suspend imports of Canadian beef.
The discovery of a case of mad cow disease has prompted some Asian countries to suspend imports of Canadian beef.
Image: Bloomberg

“These types of suspensions with an atypical case should be lifted quickly,” said Dennis Laycraft, executive vice president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. Moreover, those countries make up a small share of Canadian beef exports. More than 90% are shipped to the US and Japan, though China, South Korea and the Philippines “are growing markets for us”, he said. 

In September, Brazil halted beef exports to China due to reports of two “atypical” cases of mad cow disease, a move made as part of health protocols between the two countries. China lifted the ban three months later.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com


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