Irish beef exports to China have been halted after a case of Atypical BSE was detected here.
The new case was discovered on November 3rd after tests were carried out by Department of Agriculture vets on a dead 10-year-old cow that had been delivered for destruction.
"The animal did not enter the food or feed chain and there are no public health risks associated with this occurrence," the Department of Agriculture told Newstalk in a statement.
"Atypical BSE is a rare spontaneous event that may occur in any bovine population. It is not related to feed contamination," it added.
The Chinese market only opened back up to Irish farmers in January of this year, following a three year lock out after the last BSE case was detected back in 2020.
Ireland was granted 'negligible risk' status for BSE by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) in 2021, which is the lowest risk rating available.
Atypical BSE is not a condition which is notifiable to the WOAH.
"The identification of this Atypical BSE case does not affect Ireland’s negligible risk status for BSE," the Department of Agriculture said.
"The identification of this Atypical BSE case does not impact on trade generally.
"However, the protocol with China requires exports to be suspended pending submission and assessment of the epidemiological report.
"Therefore exports of beef to China are now temporarily suspended. The timeframe for resumption is a matter for the Chinese authorities," it added.
Ireland exported approximately 5,132 tonnes of beef to China, valued at €24 million, between January and May 2020.
'A setback we could do without'
IFA Livestock Chair Brendan Golden said the latest suspension is disappointing.
"Given that we had only recently regained access, it's a setback that we could do without," he said.
"The move by China is a technical issue resulting from the discovery of a case of Atypical BSE in a 10-year-old cow in this country.
"Under the protocol, Ireland is required to submit a detailed epidemiological report.
"Given the nature of this case, once the report is reviewed by the Chinese authorities, there should be no delay in regaining access," he added.