The ban, backed on Wednesday by the European Commission’s standing committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, will apply to all de-boned and matured bovine meat slaughtered on and after September 30, 2005.
The decision will be reviewed as appropriate, depending on further information supplied by the Brazilian authorities, and the effect of the measures taken to control the disease, which is the first outbreak in the country since 2004.
A regional breakdown of exports of beef from Brazil was not available, but according to industry sources, the restrictions in place concern between 55 and 60% of exports to the EU. And 60% of Brazilian beef-producing holdings are blocked as a result.
Fresh beef exports to the UK from Brazil have been booming (see story left).
An MLC spokesman said that whatever biosecurity measures were necessary to protect both UK and EU livestock from a repeat of the foot-and-mouth outbreak that struck the UK in 2001 should be taken.
But he added: “A regional ban on Brazilian beef imports will serve to further exacerbate the current shortage of beef in the EU. The resumption of normal British beef exports to the EU as soon as possible, following the change to the OTM rule early next month, would help to fill this increased shortfall.”