China has joined Taiwan, Korea, Peru and Belarus in restricting imports of Canadian beef products because of concern over a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) found in Alberta.
The Alberta case of BSE — better known as mad cow disease — was confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Feb. 13.
The beef cow was being raised on a farm near Spruce Grove, located just outside of Edmonton.
The CFIA said today this was the second case of BSE on the same farm, the first found in 2010. It said this is the first time a single farm has had two cases.
At a news conference Friday, CFIA officials said they are inspecting all aspects of how both animals were fed and raised, and the quality of the food fed to the most recent cow to test positive for BSE.
"The focus of our investigation will include consideration of whether there was non-compliance with the 2007 feed regime," said CFIA official Dr. Martine Dubuc.
In 2007, Canada imposed new rules on feed formulas to restrict ingredients unsuitable for ruminants.
The CFIA said no part of the BSE-positive cow entered the food system, for either animals or pets.
South Korea suspended Canadian beef imports last week — and Peru, Belarus and Taiwan followed, while Indonesia placed restrictions on non-edible meat products.
The CFIA said today it is trying to get further clarification on the extent of China's restrictions, which it characterized as temporary. China represents about two per cent of Canada's market for beef.
The animal that tested positive was the first case of BSE in Canada since 2011.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Canada was engaging with trading partners to keep markets open and try to reopen the markets that have imposed restrictions.
"The World Organization for Animal Health recognizes Canada as a controlled risk status country, and we expect our trading partners to recognize this status and base market access decisions on science," he told CBC News.