MOROCCO – The government of Morocco has issued a notice to suspend imports of beef and beef products from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland due to the outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) along with any other diseases that might come with it.

BSE, also known as Mad cow disease, is a progressive neurological disorder of cattle caused by an infection from a transmissible agent called a prion.

Once ingested, the prion protein takes a pathological form and then damages the cow’s central nervous system. The disease affects cattle, sheep, and goats.

It can be transmitted to humans through the consumption of meat from an infected animal and is characterized by a very long incubation period and a mortality rate of 100%.

A recent outbreak of BSE was announced in the UK and Northern Ireland however, the UK’s Food Standards Agency has not updated the news.

The Kingdom of Morocco therefore, with regards to the outbreak, issued a notice indicating that the decision to suspend imports from the affected countries will take effect starting January 2023.

The notice came directly from Morocco’s Customs and Indirect Tax Administration (ADII) along with a published chart featuring “All products that will not be imported into Morocco in the year 2023 due to cattle health status in the UK and Northern Ireland”.

The published list includes domestic calves and bulls that provide beef intended for classified hotels and restaurants, sausages, and similar products of meat.

Morocco made this announcement after a lack of communication from the UK and Ireland nations about the status of cattle health.

After the first outbreak in 2003 in Mabton Washington USA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with other countries’ federal organizations enacted protocols to protect citizens from the disease.

The UK has also been putting up strict controls to mitigate the occurrence of BSE in the country.

These measures included banning downer cows from the food supply, keeping high-risk parts of cattle out of the human food chain, and requiring a negative BSE test before certifying that a cow had passed inspection.

Morocco and the UK signed an Association Agreement in recent years to strengthen cooperation between the two nations, especially in trade.

The UK Department for International Trade reported that the total trade in goods and services between Morocco and UK reached £2.7 billion (US$3.3 billion) “in the four quarters to the end of Q2” of last year.

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