Brazil’s Second BSE Case Confirmed; Some Trading Partners React

On May 5, a suspected BSE case in Brazil that had been under investigation for several weeks was confirmed and a notification report was posted by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The case involves a 12-year-old cow from the state of Mato Grosso. The Reference Laboratory in Weybridge, U.K., will now determine if the case is atypical or classical.

When confirmation of Brazil’s first BSE case was announced in December 2012, the impact on market access for Brazilian beef was not widespread, but was significant in some instances. The most impactful closure was Saudi Arabia (which also closed to U.S. beef due to a BSE case discovered in California in April 2012), which was Brazil’s seventh-largest market by volume and 10th largest by value. The BSE case was also a setback for Brazil’s efforts to regain access to China, which had begun to allow some imports of boneless beef and certain offal products before the 2012 announcement but is now closed to Brazilian beef.

Peru also closed temporarily to Brazilian beef after the 2012 case, but reopened after about nine months. USMEF-South America has been informed that Peru has again has suspended imports of Brazilian beef as a result of the latest case. As a result the earlier closure, Brazil’s 2013 exports to Peru declined by more than 80 percent to 1,548 metric tons (mt). Peru had been Brazil’s 20th-largest market in 2012, when exports totaled 8,209 mt valued at $16.6 million. By comparison, U.S. exports to Peru in 2012 totaled 12,887 mt valued at $29.7 million. Through March of this year, Brazil’s exports to Peru total 1,103 mt valued at just under $2 million. It is also important to note that Brazil is Peru’s largest supplier of beef hearts, so this is the product need that is most likely to increase when the market is closed to Brazilian beef.

According to World Beef Report, Egypt, Libya and Algeria have also suspended Brazilian beef imports – but only for beef originating from the state of Mato Grosso. If this report is accurate, it would be similar to the action taken by Egypt following Brazil’s first confirmed BSE case in December 2012, when imports from the state of Parana were suspended. A state-specific ban involving Mato Grosso, however, would have much more impact on Brazil’s exports. Mato Grasso is Brazil’s largest cattle-producing state, with about 10 percent of the nationwide herd and more than double the number of cattle in the state of Parana.

Egypt is a major destination for Brazil’s beef/beef variety meat exports, ranking fourth last year in both volume (143,800 mt) and value ($485.2 million). Algeria was Brazil’s 12th–largest volume market (20,961 mt) and 11th in value ($91 million). Libya ranked 17th in volume (15,609 mt) and 18th in value ($56.7 million).

The World beef Report article also notes rumors of Iran – one of Brazil’s leading growth markets in 2014 – possibly imposing restrictions on beef imports. Through March, Iran was this year’s fifth-largest volume destination for Brazilian beef (35,331 mt, +420 percent from a year ago) and ranked fourth in value ($159.4 million, +393 percent).

USMEF will provide further updates on the market access impact of Brazil’s BSE case as more information becomes available.