The agriculture ministry said late Friday that a lab
in Weybridge, England approved by the World Animal Health
Organization confirmed it was a spontaneous case of atypical bovine
spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, with no link to
The 12-year-old cow found dead in March in a slaughterhouse in Mato
Grosso state was born and never left the same farm where cattle are
fed by pasture grazing and mineral salts, and not feed, according to
a ministry statement.
Classical cases of mad cow are caused when cattle are fed brain or
spinal tissue of other ruminants, which is now forbidden in nearly
all beef producing countries, including Brazil. In atypical cases,
the animal contracted the protein spontaneously, rather than through
the feed supply.
The ministry said the diseased animal was incinerated and none of
its parts entered the feed chain.
In late 2012 tests showed that a cow that died two years earlier in
Parana state had developed the protein that causes mad cow disease,
though the animal never developed the disease and died of natural
The World Animal Health Organization maintained Brazil's status as a
country with an insignificant risk of BSE after it confirmed the
atypical Parana case in tests carried out in England in 2012.
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Even so, several countries including South Korea, China and Egypt
banned some or all beef imports from Brazil, the world's top
Humans can develop what is known as variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob
disease from consuming animals with mad cow, and more than 150
people have died from it. Mad cow was first discovered in Britain in
1986, but strict controls have tempered its spread.
(Reporting by Fabiola Gomes; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by
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