Dispute over alleged import ban

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Related tags: Brazil, United states, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy

Confusion arose when both Canada and the United States announced
that Brazil had halted beef and livestock shipments from the two
countries because...

Confusion arose when both Canada and the United States announced that Brazil had halted beef and livestock shipments from the two countries because of concerns over bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. The news surprised officials at Brazil's Agriculture Ministry, who repeatedly denied Brazil had imposed such a halt on Canadian and U.S. livestock or beef imports. Brazil's Deputy Secretary of Animal Health, Ricardo Pamplona, claimed Brazil had requested information about potential cases of mad cow disease in the two countries' herds but opted not to restrict imports while the data was pending. "It is not obligatory that a country suspend imports and we have taken no action in this direction. U.S. and Canadian beef shipments to Brazil should be flowing normally with no suspension of import licenses or any other blocks of any kind,"​ Pamplona said. But Canada's Food Inspection Agency said Brazilian authorities had informed Canada that a suspension of U.S. and Canadian livestock imports had been in place since June 27, although no official notice of the ban had been issued yet."The Brazil authorities told us they had a suspension... The U.S. are included too,"​ said Frederique Moulin of the CFIA. But the head spokesman for Brazil's Agriculture Ministry Miguel Bueno insisted that comments about a Brazilian ban on North American beef imports were simply not true. "There is no document, no paper or note saying anything to that effect,"​ said Bueno. "This Canadian beef embargo is not true and we are not confirming it."​ Last February, Canada, the United States and Mexico imposed a three-week ban on Brazilian beef over mad cow concerns. The ban was lifted after a team of visiting scientists dismissed those concerns. Brazil's Agriculture Ministry reported BSE has never been found in Brazil. Neither Brazil, Canada nor the United States is believed to have had any documented cases of the disease. The US Department of Agriculture said a ban is standard procedure when a risk assessment is requested and the US government was preparing detailed data on American livestock for the Brazilian government. "They want a risk assessment so they put us on hold until they get the data for risk assessment,"​ said Linda Detwiler of the USDA. "We have similar requests from Japan, and more from Europe. This is becoming kind of a common occurrence."​ The three-way ban on Brazilian livestock imports in February cost Brazil's beef industry more than $2m in exports to the three North American nations, linked under the NAFTA trade bloc. Source: Reuters

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