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SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil may change the formula of its foot-and-mouth vaccines, the country’s agriculture ministry said on Monday, a move that follows a U.S. ban on imports of fresh Brazilian beef that is linked to abscesses found on carcasses.
The change is under consideration after a group of veterinary products manufacturers made a formal request to the ministry to reduce dosages to 2 ml from 5 ml, and remove a compound known as saponin from the vaccine, it told Reuters in a statement.
The government said changes will require tests to certify the quality of vaccines, adding the matter remains under analysis.
Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious disease that affects cattle.
The United States imposed a ban on fresh Brazilian beef imports in June, saying it had found abscesses in the meat and signs of systemic failure of sanitary inspections.
Brazilian ranchers believe the abscesses were linked to foot-and-mouth vaccines and blame the way the government mandates they inject cattle with them and certain substances in them.
The manufacturers’ group, known as Sindan, said in a statement on Monday the government had agreed to remove saponin from the vaccines applied on the herd of the world’s top beef exporter.
The planned changes were announced during the sixth extraordinary meeting of the South American Commission for the Fight Against Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Cosalfa) in Brasília in July 20-21, Sindan said.
Sindan said the new vaccines would be available in time for the vaccination campaign starting in November 2018.
Nationwide vaccinations occur every May and November, a ministry spokesperson said.
After meeting last week with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said the country could lift the beef ban in 30 to 60 days pending an analysis of information presented by his team.
Perdue’s press office said the two discussed the technical difficulties Brazilian beef products had encountered, which led to the ban. In a statement, the United States mentioned “corrective actions Brazil has taken and continues to take,” without elaborating.
“Secretary Perdue expressed a desire to harmonize and equalize the inspection process to give each country confidence in the safety of food products,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
The South American Commission for the Fight Against Foot-and-Mouth Disease was established in 1972 and has 13 member countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Reporting by José Roberto Gomes and Ana Mano; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by James Dalgleish