The Malaysian government has banned beef and beef products from Thailand and Brazil. These two countries join the 16 EU Member States on the beef blacklist, which has been drawn up in a bid to prevent the spread of BSE.

As well as banning imports, Malaysian health minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said the government has also ordered the immediate removal of all beef-derived products from these countries from food store shelves. Wary of beef being smuggled illegally into the country, officials have implemented stringent security checks along the border with Thailand.

The Malaysian ban seems to be inspired as much by fear as by fact. “We have banned these products including cattle from Thailand for an indefinite period, because of newspaper reports that several people have been hospitalised in that country with mad cow disease,” confirmed Jui Meng. However, he added that Malaysia had “received information” that Thai cattle are being fed with meat and bone meal (MBM) derived from cows imported from EU Member States.

Meng confirmed that the ban had been extended to include beef from Brazil after reports reached the government that the US, Canada and Mexico have banned Brazilian beef. Canada’s decision, in particular, was a high-profile move that has generated intense speculation that it has more to do with a longstanding dispute over subsidies than grounded fears over beef safety. To read more click here.

In a bid to better educate veterinary and inspection authorities, the Malaysian government is sending four officials to the UK to participate in a two-week programme to study the latest technologies and tests used to detect BSE.