US burger breakthrough for Irish beef

Beef processors have welcomed the US authorities’ approval of access for Irish manufacturing beef to the American market.

It extends access to supply the manufacturing industry, particularly for burger production and processed beef products.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII), in conjunction with exporters, said trading in manufacturing beef will not happen immediately.

The six Irish processing plants with USDA approval will be the first to progress.

“The US market is a major importer of beef for grinding, and while the peak prices witnessed during 2014 and 2015 have passed, full access to this market is important in terms of future potential,” said an MII spokesperson, who added that maximising full international market access is critical for the meat sector, and is all the more relevant since Brexit.

The improved market access for Irish beef to the US was announced by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed yesterday, who said Ireland is the first EU member state to achieve access including manufacturing beef intended for grinding.

Beef from the EU was banned from the US for BSE reasons over 15 years ago.

This ban was lifted in March, 2014, and Ireland was first to get market access in January, 2015, and remains the only EU country exporting beef to the US, so far.

Minister Creed said exports of manufacturing beef will be supported by a marketing initiative

Exports in 2015 are estimated at over €14m, and are on course for considerable improvement in 2016.

The total US beef market is estimated at 11 million metric tonnes per annum, of which about 1m tonnes is imported. Most of the imported beef is manufacturing beef.

Grass fed/natural/organic beef is about 10% of market volume, small compared to conventional/grain-fed beef, but estimated to be growing at about 20% per annum.


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