May 25, 2012

Chances of "Mad Cow" in Brazil Lowered to "Insignificant Risk"

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

With the recent identification of "mad cow" disease in California, Brazilian beef producers and exporters have been stressing to potential importers that the disease has never been found in Brazil and the risk of the disease appearing in Brazil is insignificant. That was confirmed recently at the meeting of the World Animal Health Organization in Paris where they lowered the risk of mad cow disease in Brazil from "controlled risk" to "insignificant risk". The 178 member nations voted unanimously to lower the risk level for Brazilian beef.

Brazil is now in a group of 19 countries where the risk of the disease is classified as insignificant. The disease has never been found in Brazil and the country achieved this improvement in their classification because vast majority of Brazilian beef is grass-fed although the number of cattle on feed has been increasing rapidly in recent years.

Agriculture officials in Brazil feel that the lowering from controlled risk to insignificant risk will help open markets in Europe that had excluded fresh bone-in beef out of fear of the disease. Officials also think this could result in more live cattle being sold to neighboring countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.

Officials from the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture estimate that this could led to a 20% increase receipts for Brazilian beef exports in 2012.