Tom Hayes T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine today welcome the significant progress towards exporting Irish beef to the valuable US market.
Speaking on the occasion of the visit to Ireland by Tom Vilsack, US Secretary for Agriculture, he said that Irish beef has a target niche market in the States, with our grass fed sustainable product well positioned to attract a premium price. In the short to medium term this should be approx €5-10m possibly rising to €20-25m in the longer term. Prior to the ban on imports to the US in 1997 due to BSE, Irish beef exports were approx. 110 tonnes per annum. Minister Hayes said that since that since the United States Department of Agriculture formally lifted the “BSE Rule” his Department has been working hard to finalise access for individual companies. An audit from the Food Safety Inspection Service of the USDA is due to take place at the end of June, and subject to a successful outcome, will see the successful conclusion of the efforts to put Irish beef on dining tables in the US.He said the opening of this sought-after market provides further evidence of his government`s ongoing work to grow and develop the beef industry in accordance with the Food Harvest 2020 strategy: “Apart from its benefits in terms of export values, obtaining access for Irish beef to the US market will have a significant reputational dividend across the globe. I am confident that once access is obtained, this market has the potential to grow strongly as US consumers realise the superior quality of Irish grass fed beef. The Irish meat industry and Bord Bia are well placed to develop this niche market in the near future and I am confident that our efforts to develop this market opportunity will bear fruit before the end of this year”