Green Light for Emerald Isle to Resume Beef Exports to US

Simon Coveney, minister for agriculture, food and the marine, announced on January 5 that Ireland will be the first nation in the EU allowed to export beef to the US market since the blanket ban was imposed following the outbreak of mad cow disease (BSE) in the EU during the late 1990s.

“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,” said Coveney. “This announcement 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…”

This decision from Washington clears the way for the Irish authorities to approve individual beef plants to export to the United States. Coveney’s team has been working with interested Irish plants to assess their readiness and suitability for export for some time, and this work will intensify now in order that trade can formally commence as soon as possible.

The minister remarked: “This US market is a huge prize given the size of the market and the demand we know exists there for premium grass-fed beef. We now have first-mover advantage as a result of being the first EU member state to gain entry. There is also the large Irish-American community which will be a key target of our promotional efforts for Irish beef.”

Last year the United States imported approximately $4.8 billion worth of grass-fed beef, primarily from Paraguay and Uruguay.