OIE upholds ‘negligible risk’ status for Brazil over BSE

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

OIE upholds ‘negligible risk’ status for Brazil over BSE
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases has confirmed that it will not withdraw Brazil's “negligible risk” status for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The decision was made after “extensive deliberation”  at the recent bi-annual meeting of the Commission, and concluded in accordance with the standards of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code.

Before reaching its decision, a delegation from Brazil spoke to the Commission on the events that led to the OIE being notified of BSE in the country, which was announced in December last year. The OIE confirmed in December 2012 that a sample taken from a breeding cow that died two years ago in the Brazilian state of Parana had tested positive for atypical BSE.

Since the presence of BSE in Brazil was announced, five countries – China, Japan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Jordan – imposed bans on beef imports from the country, which the OIE described as“unjustified” last month.  

The Commission maintained at this meeting, as it did in January, that the identification of this particular case of BSE was not putting the country’s or its trading partners’ animals or public health at risk. However, it was also noted that there had been a considerable delay before Brazil had sent the clinical samples for confirmation to an OIE reference laboratory.

This led the Commission to agree that more detailed information on the procedures Brazil had in place for processing samples was needed. It also said that more information was required for the improvement of the surveillance system in the country, “so as to further monitor the continuous compliance by Brazil with the relevant provisions of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code to be respected for the sustainable maintenance of its official status for BSE”.

At the next meeting in September 2013, the Commission will assess the additional information due to be provided by Brazil.

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