The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD today welcomed the announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that it is changing the regulations which restricted the importation of beef from the European Union due to BSE.
Minister Coveney welcomed the decision and said that “this issue was one of my priorities when I visited the US last year and I pushed the matter strongly with US Department of Agriculture Secretary of State Tom Vilsack and in meetings with Senators. The decision provides an opportunity for Ireland to penetrate a sector of the US beef market which can reward top quality, sustainably produced beef”.
The Minister said that the publication of the new regulation is a critical first step and that his Department is working to complete specific veterinary requirements demanded by the US so that Irish beef is well placed to take advantage of this latest development. He added “My officials will continue to engage with the USDA and Irish producers to finalise the various technical requirements to ensure commencement of the trade at the earliest possible date”.
Concluding the Minister said that the opening of this sought-after market provides further evidence of the ongoing work to grow and develop the beef industry in accordance with the Food Harvest 2020 strategy. Noting the potential for the Irish beef sector, the Minister said that the US consumer, and particularly those of Irish heritage, would be a very interesting market for our grass fed beef. “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 and Bord Bia are well placed to develop this niche market to US consumers in the near future. I will be in the US next week and my officials will be following up with the USDA while there”.