China, South Africa ban beef imports from Brazil over mad cow disease concerns

Brazil says China and South Africa have banned imports of its beef because of fears of mad cow disease.

The Agriculture Ministry says China and South Africa told Brazil they are temporarily suspending beef imports from the world's second largest exporter of the product. Japan did the same earlier this month.

The ministry said earlier this week that the carcass of a cow that died two years ago in southern Brazil contained disease-carrying proteins, or prions, but the animal did not "manifest the disease nor die of it".

None of the three countries are major importers of Brazilian beef.

During the first 10 months of the year Brazil exported 11,700 tons of beef to the three countries, compared with total exports of 1 million tons during the same period.