Saudis suspend beef purchases from five Brazilian plants

The Arab country ordered the suspension after atypical cases of mad cow disease were registered. The Arab Brazilian Chamber believes in a quick resolution of the problem.

Isaura Daniel

São Paulo – Saudi Arabia suspended beef purchases from five Brazilian plants in the state of Minas Gerais due to two atypical cases of mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), registered in Brazil. Earlier this month, the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply (MAPA) confirmed the cases in Canaã do Norte, Mato Grosso, and Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais.

The MAPA explained in a note that atypical cases occur spontaneously and sporadically and are not related to the ingestion of contaminated food, not representing a risk to human and animal health. The cases were detected in a pre-slaughter inspection. According to the MAPA, these were the fourth and fifth cases of atypical BSE registered in over 23 years of health surveillance for the disease. According to the Ministry, there has never been any record of classic cases of mad cow disease in Brazil.

In an interview this Tuesday (14), the secretary-general and CEO of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC), Tamer Mansour, stated he believes in a quick reversal of the suspension by Saudi Arabia. He informed there is no interruption in purchases by other Arab countries, and the ABCC is working to ensure this does not happen. “I understand this is a decision by Saudi Arabia as a precaution,” said Mansour.

“Saudi Arabia has the right to assess and verify the cases closely, but with the transparency with which the Ministry of Agriculture and our minister, Tereza Cristina, have been dealing with the issue, I have no doubt the reversal of the situation will occur as soon as possible,” said the secretary-general. Mansour also does not believe in the disqualification of beef processing plants in other states, as the animals would be processed in Minas Gerais.

According to the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (ABIEC) data, Saudi Arabia was the 9th leading destination for Brazilian beef abroad from January to August 2021. The country purchased 25,400 tonnes for USD 117 million. Two other Arab countries, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, imported greater volumes of beef from Brazil than the Saudis, with the Egyptians in the 6th position among importers and the UAE in 8th.

After confirming the cases, the MAPA informed on September 3 this year, Brazil officially notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), as required by international standards. The MAPA clarified the OIE excludes atypical BSE cases to recognize the country’s official risk status. Therefore, Brazil maintains its classification as a country with an insignificant risk for the disease, not justifying any impact on the trade of animals and their products and by-products.

Translated by Elúsio Brasileiro

Press Release

Related Posts