First exports of UK beef to the US in 24 years underway

Lily Canter
·2-min read
British beef will soon be served up in American homes, following a 24 year ban. Credit: Getty.
British beef will soon be served up in American homes, after a 24-year ban. Photo: Getty

The first shipments of UK beef will be exported to the USA on Wednesday after 24 years.

The longstanding ban on EU beef by the states – introduced in the wake of the BSE outbreak, also known as mad cow disease, in 1996 – was lifted for the UK in March 2020 following a three-week inspection during summer 2019.

UK beef producers now have access to the US market for the first time in more than two decades.

The industry is estimated to be worth £66m ($85bn) over the next five years.

The first shipment of beef originating from Foyle Food Group, Foyle Campsie in Northern Ireland is to be dispatched to America, with further shipments from across the UK expected in the coming weeks.

Environment secretary George Eustice said: "Our beef is renowned as some of the best in the world for its high quality, food safety and welfare standards, and this landmark milestone means more people around the globe can enjoy our produce."

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International trade secretary Liz Truss said today marked a "historic moment" for British farming which could be just the "tip of the iceberg."

The government hopes the free trade deal currently under negotiation with the US will create a host of export opportunities for British agriculture.

AHDB international market development director Phil Hadley said: "The US represents an important potential market for our red meat exports and today’s first shipment is the result of the hard work and persistence of industry and government to bring about this crucial next step.

"This important milestone will bring a fantastic boost to the sector and we look forward to seeing more of our red meat served up on dinner tables across the US in the months and years to come."

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