Thailand bans US beef
Thailand is suspending imports of beef from the United States following the discovery of mad cow disease in California, says Tritsadee Chaosuancharoen, director-general of the Department of Livestock Development.
Washington reported on Tuesday that a cow in California had been infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease.
Imports of US beef have been temporarily halted until the department is assured that it is safe, English daily Thai Post quoted Dr Tritsadee as saying on Friday.
The suspension is in accordance with the Animal Epidemics Act, even though the imports of boneless beef cuts from animals under 30 months of age are not affected, she said.
"Thailand is safe [from mad cow] and is not at risk definitely because the Livestock Development Department has measures to prevent and control the disease," she added.
"We strictly inspect the quality and sources of foreign beef and closely monitor disease outbreaks in the country and overseas."
Dr Tritsadee said Thailand would stop importing beef and lamb from countries hit by mad cow disease immediately.
In 2011, the country imported 58,969 kilogrammes of boneless beef cuts from the US worth 29 million baht. In the first quarter of this year, the country imported 37,599kg worth 18 million baht.
Indonesia was the first country to suspend imports of US beef Thursday.