BRASILIA, June 4 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias said on Tuesday she expects China will soon lift a ban on Brazilian beef, which was announced Monday, following a case of atypical mad cow disease found in the state of Mato Grosso.
The ban is significant for Brazilian beef producers because China is its largest foreign buyer. In 2018, China spent $1.5 billion on Brazilian beef, according to the Brazilian beef exporters association Abiec.
Dias said the ban would be lifted when the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) formally concluded an inquiry into the situation.
“The OIE has already finalized the process; it began and finished without any additional requests,” Dias told reporters. “We are waiting on China in the next few days to request that the suspension be lifted.”
She added that the detection of an atypical case of mad cow disease was something that had happened in over 20 different countries in the past year.
“It’s not contagious, it doesn’t pose a risk to anybody. It is a normal situation,” she said, adding that China had been the only country to ban Brazilian beef due to the situation.
Listed Brazilian meatpackers including Minerva SA , JBS SA and Marfrig Global Foods , whose shares had dropped following news of the ban on Monday, bounced back on Tuesday, with JBS gaining 4%. (Reporting by Marcela Ayres; Editing by Tom Brown)