China to speed up inspection visits to Irish meat plants

China to speed up inspection visits to Irish meat plants
Bord Bia Master Series: Chef Sun Huasheng; chef Qu Hao; Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy; Irish Ambassador to China, Eoin O’Leary; Agriculture Minister Michael Creed; chef Gu Zhihui; chef Wang Zhongweithe.

Chinese authorities have agreed an accelerated process for the inspection and registration of more Irish beef plants, due to take place in August.

Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, welcomed the news during an event in China to launch a new culinary Master Series promoting the use of Irish beef in Chinese cuisine, attended by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed.

Tara McCarthy said: “Consumer demand for premium imported beef is rising in China and since Ireland gained market access, we have seen 2,100 tonnes of beef worth €4 million exported to China from Ireland.

“As well as offering Government to Government engagement, this trade mission is vital in building enduring commercial relationships between Irish exporters and Chinese suppliers.”

Bord Bia’s Master Series is a culinary celebration in which four high-profile Chinese chefs - representing Cantonese, Sichuan, Huaiyang and Shandong cuisines - use Irish beef in preparing new dishes representative of their regions.

The Master Series, which was officially launched this year by Bord Bia at the ‘Greening’ of the Great Wall of China to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, is a key part of the €3.75m three-year promotional campaign for European beef and lamb, which runs until January 2020.

“Two months ago, when Bord Bia launched the Master Series, we set out on a journey that would link the best of China’s rich cuisines with the finest Irish beef,” Tara McCarthy remarked. “We know from our market research in China that there is a growing demand among middle-class Chinese consumers for beef and dairy-based food in their diet.”

Minister Creed congratulated Bord Bia on its success in boosting sales of Irish food and drink products through its ongoing consumer and trade campaigns in China, including online promotions, inward buyer visits, and EU co-funded campaigns.

Minister Creed said: “Our agri-food exports to China have increased from around €200m in 2010 to over €780m last year. These trade meetings, and our visits to food production facilities, create opportunities for Irish exporters to engage, connect and understand the Chinese market in ways that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.”

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