Brussels has banned beef imports from eight areas in Argentina’s foot-and-mouth disease-hit region of San Luis Del Palmar, in the northern province of Corrientes.
Argentinian authorities discovered an outbreak in 70 cattle in a herd located 25km from the country’s border with Paraguay on February 4.
A European Commission spokesman for health and consumer protection said: “The outbreak was confirmed on February 8 and the Argentinian government placed movement restrictions on livestock from eight departments within a 20km radius of the outbreak.
“The Argentinean authorities have also revoked the region’s beef export licence.”
MLC EU policy adviser Helene Judge said Argentina would be keen to see a swift end to the ban on exports, which has also halted trade to Russia. Beef exports are worth £920m a year to the economy of Argentina.
She added: “The EU will be sending an inspector out to Argentina shortly to see how the control measures and procedures are working with a view to lifting the ban as soon as possible.”
The virus behind the outbreak is serotype 0 - the same strain responsible for the recent outbreak in Brazil.
National Beef Association chief executive Robert Forster said: “I don’t see how anyone who’s looking for a regular or large supply of beef could look to South America and feel secure. Regular outbreaks of foot and mouth disease make delivery a lottery.”
Rachael Porter