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UK beef heading to US for first time in 20 years

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The first shipments of British beef destined for the US are being prepared for the first time in twenty years.

Two Northern Ireland (NI) processors, WD Meats and Foyle Food Group (Foyle Campsie), are among four UK agri-food businesses that are officially eligible to export local beef to America.

They have been listed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service, after access to the market was granted in March of this year.

BSE ‘stagnated our industry’

UFU beef and lamb chairman Sam Chesney said, “This is great news for the beef sector in NI and it has been long-awaited by our beef producers.”

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“It has been almost twenty years since UK beef was eligible for sale in the American market after bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) stagnated our industry and all UK beef imports into the States were banned in the mid-1990s.”

“We are very glad that UK beef has been given the green light again and that two local red meat plants, Foyle Campsie and WD Meats, have gained access.”

Better returns for farmers

He said being able to avail of more external markets will create better returns for primary producers, who, he stressed, have been under significant financial pressure the past few years.

“In particular, the offal market has been very volatile this year due to the pandemic and we hope this access to the US market will create higher demand for products that have taken a serious hit in sales.”

“NI beef producers produce trustworthy, traceable beef, farmed to some of the highest animal welfare, environmental and food production standards in the world which we are hugely proud of.”

“This breakthrough with America highlights that their officials have recognised the high-quality products that we have to offer and we are confident that they will be well received by American consumers.”

The farm group urged UK Government officials and industry stakeholders to continue their work in ensuring there is no delay getting products exported to the USA.

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