Kuwait bans US beef imports

Kuwait banned the import of US beef on Saturday, joining more than 25 other countries who have enforced a ban after a cow became infected with "mad cow disease" in the state of Washington.

    Around 24 countries have slapped a ban on US beef imports

    The state-run Kuwait News Agency said the ban by the Public Authority for Agriculture and Fisheries would be in place "until further notice."

    On Friday, Egypt banned all US beef products and byproducts shipped after Tuesday, when the government announced it had found a cow sick with the brain-wasting illness. 

    Scientists in England confirmed the results on Thursday.
      
    Most of Egypt's beef products come from Europe and South America. According to UN trade data, the United States
    only exported about $11.5 million worth of beef products to Egypt in 2002. 
      

    Since the discovery the US has lost nearly 90 percent of its beef exports, according to Gregg Doud, an economist for the Denver-based National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

    Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is caused by a misshapen protein that eats holes in a cow's brain.

    Human link

    A total of 153 people worldwide have been reported to have contracted the human form of the illness, according to
    the United States' federal Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
      
    Humans can contract a fatal variant of mad cow disease by eating infected beef products, but experts say muscle
    cuts of beef, including steaks and roasts are safe to eat.

    Japan, South Korea and Mexico are among the top buyers to have already banned American beef imports.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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