A cattle industry group says it expects an import ban on Canadian beef by China and two other Asian countries will be temporary.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association confirmed on Tuesday that China – which imports Canadian beef worth about $170 million annually, making it the industry’s third largest global market – has discovered an unusual case of BSE, or mad cow disease. After the import of beef from Canada has been stopped. , on a farm in Alberta last month.
Rare case of unusual mad cow disease reported in Alberta
South Korea, which accounts for about $90 million a year to Canada’s beef industry, as well as the Philippines – which imports about $13 million in Canadian beef annually – have also suspended imports.
“I wouldn’t say it’s surprising, although we were hoping it wouldn’t be,” said Dennis Lecraft, executive director of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. “We expect these to be very short in duration, but this is a foreign regulator you’re dealing with in different time zones and in different languages.”
The unusual case detection, which was announced in December, marks the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Canada in six years.
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Atypical BSE develops spontaneously in about one in every million cattle. It has been reported six times in the US, most recently in 2018, as well as several other countries.
Unlike the classic BSE strain, which has been linked to the fatal neurological disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, atypical BSE poses no health risk to humans and is not transmissible.
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The Alberta government said in December when it announced the discovery of the matter that it “was not expected to have an impact on the market.”
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But Laycroft said the unusual BSE case has “no reason” to result in trade restrictions, with some countries being extra cautious and wanting Canada to provide additional information about the affected animal.
China also closed its borders to Brazilian beef last time, after that country reported a case of unusual tension. That shutdown lasted for three months.
The discovery of the unusual case is not expected to negatively affect Canada’s status as a “negligible risk” country for BSE, as determined by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
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Canada was awarded preferential status in May 2021, 18 years after the “mad cow crisis” devastated Canadian agriculture. It has been estimated that the crisis _ which began with the discovery of a case of specific BSE on an Alberta farm in 2003 _ cost Canada between $4.9 billion and $5.5 billion as international borders closed to the Canadian product. She was
Since then, the Canadian beef industry and the Government of Canada have worked to diversify and develop new markets for this country’s beef. Laycroft said that even with the loss of the Chinese market, Canada still sees good demand from key markets such as the US, Japan, Mexico and Vietnam.
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“We are not as vulnerable as we were years ago to typical market closures,” he said. “So I guess it depends how long it takes for the market to reopen, but I believe (it can be resolved) in weeks. It could be days, but it could be weeks. should not exceed that.”
Patrick Girard, spokesman for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said the discovery of the unusual case in Alberta underscores the ongoing effectiveness of Canada’s “robust, targeted BSE surveillance program.”
“Canada continues to actively engage with trading partners to provide this identifying information and to maintain confidence in Canada’s safeguards against BSE,” Girard said in an email. “The Government of Canada remains confident in the strength of Canada’s BSE safeguards and in the safety of Canadian beef.”
The unusual BSE cow was euthanized in the field and did not enter the food or animal feed chain.
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