Farm Ireland

Wednesday 24 January 2018

US ends 16-year restrictions on EU beef imports

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

The US has opened the door to EU beef imports after 16 years of restrictions which followed the BSE crisis in the 1990s.

The changes were signed off last week by the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

However, the end of the ban will not come into effect for at least another 90 days.

Similar rule changes are also expected in the sheepmeat sector.

While Ireland was only exporting 110t annually into the US prior to the ban, Bord Bia believe that there are big opportunities for Irish meat processors to market grass-fed premium cuts to the extensive Irish diaspora, especially on the US east coast.

Minister Coveney said that his officials would continue finalising the various technical requirements to ensure commencement of the trade at the earliest possible date.

"I am confident that this market will grow strongly as US consumers realise the superior quality of Irish grass-fed beef and the Irish meat industry," he said.

"Bord Bia are well placed to develop this niche market to US consumers in the near future.

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"I will be in the US next week and my officials will be following up with the USDA while there," he added.

The USDA move was also welcomed by both the IFA and the EU Commission.

A statement from the Commission said that Europe's efforts to control and eradicate BSE had resulted in a risk status that was now equal or better than most countries in the world.

"EU beef is safe," it concluded.

Irish Independent