Keywords: bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, Argentina, Brazil, risk management, risk assessment, mad cow disease, food safety
Risk management strategies for bovine spongiform encephalopathy in South America
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has never been reported in South America. As BSE began to be detected in other parts of the world, Argentina and Brazil were able to gain a larger share of the global demand for beef, with these two countries currently controlling one-third of the world export beef market. In both countries, the practice of pasturing cattle rather than feeding MBM has served to minimise the opportunity for BSE cycling, and early bans on the import of UK cattle coupled with minimal meat and bone meal (MBM) imports resulted in a very low external challenge. Specified risk material (SRM) regulations vary between countries in South America. Argentina enacted a ban on SRM in the feed chain in 2002; Brazil implemented a similar ban in early 2007. South American countries as a region had a lower risk of BSE entry, but higher cattle system instability than European Union countries.