Brazil reports atypical case of mad cow disease: ministry

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian government reported on Friday a case of atypical mad cow disease in an animal in Mato Grosso state, according to a statement from the country's Agriculture Ministry.

The ministry said the case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), was detected in a 17-year-old cow. It said it collected the necessary material for tests and incinerated all other parts of the cow.

"No part of the animal entered the food chain, there are no risks for the population," the statement said.

The case was considered "atypical" as the animal contracted the BSE protein spontaneously, rather than through the feed supply. Classical cases of mad cow are caused when cattle are fed brain or spinal tissue of other ruminants, which is now forbidden in nearly all beef producing countries including Brazil.

In 2012 in Brazil tests showed that a cow that had died two years earlier in Parana state had developed the protein that causes mad cow disease, though the animal never developed the disease and died of natural causes.

The World Organisation for Animal Health maintained Brazil's status as a country with an insignificant risk of BSE at that time, after it confirmed the atypical Parana case.

Even so, several countries including South Korea, China and Egypt banned some or all beef imports from Brazil, the world's top exporter. That trade was later reopened.

Brazil's Agriculture Ministry said it had informed all importers on Friday about the case, as well as the World Organisation for Animal Health.

(Reporting by Roberto Samora and Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Sandra Maler)