Five nations have banned imports of beef from Brazil, the world's largest beef exporter, following a long-delayed report released on Dec. 7 detailing the nation's first suspected case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in 2010.
The move by authorities in Japan, China, South Africa, South Korea and Saudi Arabia is in response to Brazil's handling of the incident. Of them, only Saudi Arabia is among the ten countries to import the greatest amount of Brazilian beef.
Brazil's Agriculture Ministry stressed on Friday that no cases of mad cow disease have been officially registered. The 13-year-old cow that set the investigation into motion did not have mad cow disease, only the protein believed to cause the disease. It died in the southern state of Parana of unnamed causes.
The protein is thought to have appeared after a spontaneous genetic mutation and was found after a tissue sample was submitted for testing by the World Animal Health Organization (OIE). Brazilian authorities said it was unlikely that the cow would have developed mad cow disease, and that it had taken two years to send the sample because it had conducted extensive testing at home first.
Egypt has also banned some Brazilian beef, but only from the state of Parana.