Saudi Arabia agrees to resume US beef imports after mad cow
RIYADH - Saudi Arabia has agreed to resume US beef imports, the US embassy said Wednesday, opening the way for a return to the kingdom's menus after a ban over mad cow disease.
The agreement ends a halt to sales imposed in 2011 after the United States had a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
The brain-destroying disease in cattle sparked a scare in the 1990s after the discovery that it could be transmitted to humans who ate infected beef.
"Saudi Arabia will allow imports of beef and beef products from US cattle less than 30 months of age, with access expanded to include products from US cattle under 48 months after a phase-in period," the embassy said in a statement.
Exports of US beef and beef products to the kingdom were worth more than $31 million prior to the four-year ban.
Britain was the centre of the BSE epidemic which prompted dozens of countries to strengthen veterinary controls.