Brazilian beef exporter Minerva Foods is set to temporarily close operations at its Barretos plant in São Paulo.

According to a company statement sent to Reuters, the Brazilian firm intends to pause operations at the site in order to carry out maintenance works. As a result, it is furloughing 635 workers at its plant.

Minerva said that it will suspend operations at the plant from 17 to 30 June, and the temporary closure would coincide with the suspension of beef exports to China.

Last week, the Brazilian Government imposed a ban on beef exports to China after a case of typical Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, was reported in Mato Grosso state.

As a result of this, the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) temporarily suspended beef exports to China.

However, Minerva stated that it will continue to export beef product to the Asian market from its other facilities located in South America, including four units operated by its subsidiary Athena Foods based in Uruguay and Argentina.

These units were not affected by Brazil’s temporary ban.

With a slaughter capacity of 840 head of cattle per day, Barreto’s facility is reported to be the only facility in Brazil owned by Minerva that has been certified to export beef products.

Minerva expects that the ban of beef products will be for a short period as the World Organisation for Animal Health excluded atypical cases of BSE from its evaluation of a country’s sanitary status in 2015.