Brazil’s First Case of Mad Cow Disease Hidden for Months

Mad Cow Disease Mismanaged In Brazil

Brazil has notified international animal health regulators of its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, commonly called mad cow disease. The cow died two years ago, but the test confirming the deadly brain disease was not done until 18 months later, and the results not made public until Thursday.

This time lag allowed Brazil to export roughly 67 million pounds of beef to the United States since the suspect Brazilian cow was identified. Mad cow disease is transmissible to humans who eat beef contaminated with the prions that cause the disease, which is invariably fatal.

mad cow disease

R-CALF USA, a U.S. national, non-profit cattle producers association, warns that this situation points up the need for defending U.S. mandatory country-of-origin labeling now under attack before the World Trade Organization.

“That means the U.S. imported enough beef from Brazil in 2011 and 2012 to feed over one million Americans their annual consumption of beef,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.

“None of that Brazilian beef imported into the U.S. during the past two years was subject to BSE mitigations that are supposed to apply to countries where BSE is known to exist, meaning U.S. consumers have been subjected to an unnecessary and avoidable risk of mad cow disease from Brazil,” said Bullard.

A Brazilian notification submitted Thursday to the World Organization for Animal Health, OIE, identifies a 13-year-old cow that died in December 2010 in Parana state as a suspect for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, or mad cow disease.

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Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area of special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform

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