IRELAND - The US market has opened to Irish beef exports.
The news follows a successful inspection by the US authorities of Ireland’s beef production systems in July of last year.
Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said: “I am delighted with this confirmation that the US market is now open to Irish beef.
"This is the culmination of two years of intensive work between my Department and our US counterparts to prove our credentials as a supplier of highest quality premium beef.
"I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my US counterpart Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack with whom I’ve worked very closely on this issue to bring it to this stage.”
Beef from the EU has been banned from the US since it imposed its ban for BSE reasons over 15 years ago and this ban was only formally lifted in March 2014.
Ireland had been consistently calling for the US to lift its ban and Minister Coveney had raised the matter with Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack, citing the high demand for Irish beef around the world as proof of its quality and reliability.
Mr Coveney added:"This announcement by the US is a huge endorsement of Irish beef and our production and regulatory systems. It complements the other market access outlets we have secured in the last two years all of which are a key element of our Food Harvest 2020 strategy to expand the overseas opportunity for Irish beef.
"It’s clear that diversifying our international beef markets as an exporting country is key to the long-term sustainability of our beef sector.”
Irish Farmers’ Association President Eddie Downey (pictured) said: “This is a positive development and its significance will be judged by farmers securing improved beef prices from the market place in 2015.”
Mr Downey said the major increase in US beef prices, up by €1/kg in the last year and now at €4.70/€4.80/kg, must present a real opportunity for Irish grass-based beef exports.
The IFA President said Irish cattle prices are rising and combined with much tighter supplies in 2015, price prospects look much more promising for beef farmers.
He said prices have opened stronger with a base of €4.00/kg for steers and €4.05/4.10 base for heifers.
He said factories are already finding it difficult to procure tighter supplies and some top prices of €4.20 to €4.40/kg for specialist lots have been paid.
TheMeatSite News Desk