British beef could soon be heading to the US after government officials agreed the “crucial step” of an export deal worth £66m over the first five years.
The US has agreed equivalence of standards on the UK’s disease control measures following a three-week inspection last summer.
It means that after the final administrative details are carried out, beef can be shipped to the US.
The inspections in August 2019 included tours of five beef sites, four pork and lamb facilities, as well as several laboratories.
The NFU said the news was a positive step for the beef industry and an opportunity for farmers to sell to a new and significant market.
NFU livestock board chairman, Richard Findlay, said: “This will be welcome news for livestock farmers who, with ongoing uncertainty over trade with the EU, have been unsure of where their products will be going.
“Farmers want to make the most of this opportunity to supply one of the biggest markets in the world, and we will continue to work with the AHDB to ensure British beef gets the promotion it deserves.”
Boost for industry
The deal has been negotiated by the AHDB, Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Food Standards Agency, Quality Meat Scotland and other organisations across the UK.
Phil Hadley, AHDB international market development director, said the news was a “fantastic boost” for the industry.
“The announcement is a crucial step in our ambitions to gain market access for our beef and lamb – to go with out existing pork trade – to the all-important US market,” Dr Hadley said.
The inspection in the summer was part-financed from the £2m fund of AHDB red meat levies, which is ring-fenced for collaborative projects that is managed by Britain’s three meat levy bodies: the AHDB, HCC and QMS.