The first shipments of UK beef departed for the USA last week. 30th September 2020, marking an historic moment for UK farmers and food producers.
Following the USA’s longstanding ban on EU beef – introduced in the wake of the BSE outbreak in 1996 – market access for UK beef was granted in March 2020. Welsh beef producers now have access to the US market for the first time in over 20 years.
The news means the sector can now begin to reap the economic benefits of trade with the US – with industry estimating beef exports will be worth £66 million over the next five years.
The first four UK food businesses, based in Wales and Northern Ireland, have now been officially listed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service as eligible to export UK beef to the USA.
It is expected that in the coming months, more food businesses across Wales and the rest of the UK will be able to take advantage of this exciting new export opportunity.
The US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Audit Report, a crucial step leading to British exporters being able to sell to the US, was published in March 2020, and confirmed that UK meat hygiene systems and controls are of a suitable, equivalent standard for products to be imported to the USA. The report noted that the whole of the UK meets the US’s production requirements, therefore beef from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is eligible for export.