F&M jeopardises Brazil’s exports

Brazil has confirmed a fresh outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in one of its main beef producing states, jeopardising exports to some of its key markets.

The latest case, in Mato Grosso do Sul in the south-west of the country, was confirmed by the ministry of agriculture in Brasilia on Monday (10 October).

“Following confirmation of the infection of 153 animals, all the recommended emergency procedures were adopted,” said a statement.

These included the isolation and disinfection of the ranch involved, the slaughter of  582 cattle and eight pigs, and the imposition of a 25km surveillance zone.

Checkpoints have also been set up to prevent the movement of animals in and out of the area.

The ministry of agriculture has reported the outbreak of the O type strain to the World Organisation for Animal Health in Paris, as well as to its trading partners and neighbours.

As Farmers Weekly went to press on Wednesday the EU commission was set to impose an immediate ban on imports of beef from Mato Grosso do Sul, unless it was dispatched before 30 September.

Russia, which is Brazil’s number one outlet, taking over 20% of its exports, was also poised to ban imports from the affected area.

Mato Grosso do Sul is the country’s second biggest beef producing state, accounting for about 15% of the $2bn (£1.1bn) worth shipped in the past 12 months.

But Otavio Cançado, senior adviser at the Brazilian Association of Meat Exporters, believes total export activity will not be badly affected.

“The restrictions will be in place in Mato Grosso do Sul until the area is completely free of the disease. And when those restrictions are lifted, that beef will only be for the internal market.

“But we have plenty of beef and export-approved abattoirs in other states, so I believe we will be able to continue serving our customers.”