DA: Import ban on beef, cattle from Brazil to stay


The Philippines has no plans to lift the temporary import ban it slapped on Brazilian cattle and beef products in September due to the outbreak of atypical mad cow disease.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said his agency is not considering rescinding the import ban on Brazilian beef, a measure being awaited by local meat processors.

Wala pa, wala pang plano [no plans yet to lift it],” he said when asked if he will scrap the import ban during a recent virtual press briefing.

Last month, the Philippines slapped a temporary import ban on Brazilian beef products, including live cattle, after the Latin American country reported an outbreak of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2021/09/18/mad-cow-disease-outbreak-prompts-phl-to-ban-beef-imports-from-brazil/)

The Department of Agriculture (DA) imposed the import ban to protect the country’s cattle population and Filipino consumers as mad cow disease could affect humans.

The DA noted that the atypical type of mad cow disease “may pose a risk to consumers due to BSE’s assumed link with the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.”

Other countries, such as China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Indonesia and Iran, have also banned Brazilian cattle and beef products.

The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (Pampi) had warned that the temporary blanket ban on Brazilian beef products would increase the retail prices of processed goods as manufacturers will be forced to use more expensive raw materials from Australia and the United States.

Brazil accounts for about 40 percent of the Philippines’s annual beef imports. It also supplies up to 70 percent of the raw material requirements of local meat processors.

“With the ban, meat processors will be forced to use higher priced beef from suppliers such as Australia, Ireland and the US,” the group said in a statement last month. “Hence, the increased cost of beef raw material for processed meats will be passed on to consumers in terms of higher prices, while the ban on Brazilian beef is in effect.”

In a statement, Pampi said the government should have already lifted the ban on Brazilian beef since it only involves the atypical type of the mad cow disease, which does not affect animals and humans.

The Philippines imported nearly 40,000 metric tons of beef from Brazil in January to September, based on the latest government data.

In September, Dar issued Memorandum Order (MO) 54 authorizing the temporary ban on the importation of live cattle, meat and meat products derived from cattle from Brazil.

With the order, the Bureau of Animal Industry suspended the processing, evaluation of the application and issuance of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance for Brazilian beef imports.

“All shipments in transit/loaded/accepted unto port before the official communication of this order to the Brazilian authorities shall be allowed provided the slaughter and production date is on or before August 31, 2021,” the memo read.

Image courtesy of Bloomberg

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