China and the Philippines are the latest nations to block imports after a case of atypical BSE
By Diego Flammini
Two more trading partners have suspended imports of Canadian beef following the confirmation of an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) on an Alberta farm last month.
China, the Canadian beef sector’s third-largest market, which imports almost $200 million of beef each year, halted imports of Canadian beef this week. As did the Philippines, which imported $14 million of beef and veal as of November 2021.
These countries join South Korea, a $90 million market for Canadian beef, which suspended its imports in December.
The cow was euthanized on the farm and didn’t enter the food or animal feed chain.
Canadian officials are working with representatives in all three countries to provide them with the necessary information to resume beef trade.
"A few trading partners have asked Canada for additional information about the atypical BSE case and have either temporarily suspended imports from Canada or requested that Canada not certify exports for their market pending review of that information," Patrick Girard, a spokesperon for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, told Farms.com in an emailed statement.
Canada provided South Korea with information on Jan. 7, while China and the Philippines received documents on Jan. 10, he added.
Beef industry representatives are monitoring the situation closely.
Canada has received confirmation from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that this case of atypical BSE, which appears spontaneously at a rate of about one in one million, won’t alter the country’s negligible risk status, which Canada achieved in May 2021.
"An atypical case is a naturally occurring event around the world and the OIE has made it clear that an atypical case does not impact a countries' BSE status," Dennis Laycraft, executive vice pressident of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, told Farms.com in an emailed statement. "We remain optimistic that trade can be normalized in a timely manner once the additional information is provided.
The atypical BSE situation is unlikely to affect market prices on a larger scale.
But local prices could be affected, said Moe Agostino, chief commodity strategist with Farms.com Risk Management.
"Canada is too small to matter on the Chicago Board of Trade," he said. "But it could impact local basis and cash markets."