THE Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on Saturday confirmed a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a beef cow from the province of Alberta.
Since the announcement, South Korea has imposed a quarantine restriction on imported Canadian beef.
The case was detected through Canada’s national BSE surveillance program. It’s the nineteenth Canadian animal detected since the disease was first identified in 2002.
The CFIA said no part of the animal entered the feed or food supply. The detection was picked up in routine testing.
CFIA has begun an investigation into the case, which might prove to be an atypical case of BSE.
Canada’s previous case was confirmed in February 2011.
Canada has a “Controlled BSE Risk” status according to the OIE, and the new case should not affect exports of Canadian cattle or beef, the CFIA said.
The was no sign of cattle or meat market impact in Canada immediately after the announcement.
Korea suspends trade
Since the detection was announced on Saturday, Australian time, South Korea has suspended quarantine inspections of Canadian beef.
The Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it has stopped quarantine inspections of Canadian beef, after Canada confirmed an animal from Alberta had tested positive for BSE.
“Although Canada has provided limited information, the Korean government has stopped the quarantine inspections to prevent any beef infected with BSE from entering the country,” an agriculture ministry official said.
“As BSE is not an infectious disease, we will decide whether to suspend imports considering possibilities of additional outbreaks.”
South Korea suspended Canadian beef imports following its last BSE detection in 2011, resuming imports in March 2012.
Canada is Korea’s fourth-largest export beef supplier, after Australia, the US and New Zealand. South Korea imported US$170.9 million worth of beef from Canada last year.
A massive rally against a new trade deal on imports of US beef in 2008 stirred fears of BSE risk in imported beef among consumers in South Korea, leading to tougher regulations on beef imports.