China suspends imports of Irish beef again after BSE report

China has again suspended imports of Irish beef following the confirmation of a new case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). China had just resumed imports earlier this year after Ireland had been free of BSE reports for two years.

According to the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), the animal in question was a ten-and-a-half-year-old cow and the infection was discovered during a regular check. “The animal did not enter the food or feed chain and there are no risks to public health associated with this incident,” the DAFM said. 

The most recent case of 'atypical BSE' in Ireland was identified in 2020. Atypical BSE is not a reporting condition.

Export volumes of Irish beef to China have not really picked up after the recent resumption and are relatively low. Beef shipments from Ireland to China had only resumed earlier this year in January, after being suspended in May 2020 following an isolated case of atypical BSE.

The reopening of the market in January was seen as a major opportunity for Ireland to rebuild its beef trade with China, which was worth almost €40 million in 2019.