IFA, processors welcome US endorsement
There was a broad welcome to the opening up of the US to Irish beef imports, with both the farm organisations and processors insisting that the announcement represented an excellent opportunity for the industry.
Meat Industry Ireland (MII) described the US decision as important from both a business and reputational perspective.
"This is a further endorsement of our food safety standards and our quality management systems. It is positive from an overall trade perspective and our ongoing work in improving international market access for Irish beef," MII said.
"From a business perspective, we believe that the US market will ultimately be a high-value/low-volume niche market, principally for Irish grass-fed steak cuts.
"However, at present, due to lower-than-normal beef production in the US, there is opportunity to potentially export greater volumes, including manufacturing beef, in the course of 2015 and hopefully 2016, while US herd rebuilding is underway," the industry body added.
However, MII said processors were awaiting clarification on some aspects of what will be specifically required by the US regulatory authorities.
"The next steps are to agree a veterinary certificate, clarify outstanding details and progress the approval of additional plants beyond those initially approved. MII will be meeting with the Department of Agriculture this week to advance these issues," MII stated.