27 Apr 2012

Exports await US mad cow response

12:53 pm on 27 April 2012

Beef exporters are waiting to see if the latest case of mad cow disease in the United States, will lead to a surge in demand for New Zealand meat.

The USDA confirmed this week that the disease, also known as BSE, was found in a dairy cow in California.

The chief veterinarian says it's an unusual and isolated case, caused by genetic mutation rather than livestock feed.

Indonesia has suspended US beef imports and there are temporary bans in other countries, including South Korea and Japan, which are key markets for New Zealand beef.

NZX Agrifax market analyst Nick Handley, says an outbreak of mad cow in the United States in 2003, doubled New Zealand beef exports the following year.

He says while the latest case is different, it could increase the export demand.

New Zealand meat exports are worth $6 billion per year, second only to dairy exports.