China, South Korea, and the Philippines have temporarily suspended beef imports from Canada due to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, an atypical BSE posing no health risk to humans. The detection of the atypical case, which was announced in December 2021, is Canada’s first case of BSE in six years.
China is the largest of the three beef markets and represents about 5% of Canada’s USD 400-billion exports. Mintec price for Canadian cattle reached CAD 1.5/lbs, down 6% m-o-m in mid-January 2022. Suspension from the Chinese market could lead to a temporary bearish trend in the Canadian beef market as the beef not exported to China remains in the Canadian market. However, prices could regain strength in the next few months as exports to the US and Japan, the key destinations for Canadian beef, are expected to continue. Also, the Canadian beef industry and the Canadian government are working to diversify and develop new markets to restrict prices from falling further.
Additionally, the Canadian government expects the ban to be lifted in the next few weeks as Canada has proactively engaged with trading partners to provide information about this detection and maintain confidence in Canada’s safeguards against BSE.