South Korea has halted imports of Canadian beef after Canada on Friday confirmed its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), since 2011, the South Korean agriculture ministry said.

South Korea was seeking more information about the outbreak and discussing public safety with relevant authorities, the ministry said in a statement.

South Korea imported a total of 281,500 tonnes of beef last year, most of it from Australia, the United States, and New Zealand. Of the total, it imported only 2,800 tonnes, or 1 percent, from Canada, according to ministry data.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said no part of the infected animal, a beef cow from Alberta province, had reached the human food or animal feed systems.

BSE is a progressive, fatal neurological disease. It is thought that the disease can be transmitted to people from food made from cows sick with BSE.