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Saudi Arabia bans Brazil beef imports over suspected mad cow

Saudi Arabia has imposed a temporary freeze on the import of beef from Brazil after a case of mad cow disease was detected in the South American country

Published: Updated:

Saudi Arabia has imposed a temporary freeze on the import of beef from Brazil after a case of mad cow disease was detected in the South American country, the kingdom’s state news agency said Monday.

The ban, imposed by the agriculture ministry, comes after a warning from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on the detection of a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, the Saudi Press Agency said.

Brazil said last month that the alleged case of BSE was traced to a single, 12-year-old grazing cow slaughtered on March 19 due to old age. It did not have any symptoms of the disease.

All animals that had contact with the cow were identified and isolated.

Saudi Arabia and other energy-rich Gulf monarchies are major importers of beef, of which Brazil is a main exporter.

In 2012 and early 2013, almost 10 countries suspended their imports of Brazilian beef after a case of atypical mad cow disease was detected in an animal that died in 2010 in the southern state of Parana.

A subsequent probe showed the animal did not die of BSE.

The Paris-based OIE said at the time that it was "maintaining Brazil's status as a country with an insignificant risk of BSE."

(With AFP)