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NBA Optimistic US Will Open Doors to UK Beef

13 March 2012

UK - The National Beef Association (NBA) is hopeful that a draft law published in the USA will make its way through the system and result in the United States of America lifting the ban on British exports, put in place in 1997 due to concerns regarding bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

While it is clear no change will be made overnight, the fact that the draft law in place is very encouraging and is the first big step towards the ban being lifted.

Joanne Pugh, NBA Assistant Director, says: “It’s not just that the USA would be an interesting new export market for British beef, it’s the acknowledgement by yet another country that beef from the UK is some of the safest and highest quality beef in the world.

“With BSE long behind us, more and more export certificates are being signed. In fact 37 non-EU countries opened their doors last year alone, so the USA will join a long list of countries that have acknowledged what the UK has to offer in terms of traceability, high welfare standards, environmental credentials and taste.

“With beef supplies tightening all the time, we are operating on an increasing global platform. The more countries we can export to, the wider our portfolio of products sold and carcases utilised, which can only be good news for farmers in the UK.”

Attention has been drawn to the draft bill by Michelle O’Neill, Minister of Agriculture for Northern Ireland, who is visiting the USA this week. It is hoped her visit will further emphasise the need for the USA to lift the 1997 ban.

Ireland has also welcomed the announcement, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said: "Ireland has been to the forefront in pressing for a level playing field for EU beef in the US. This is a very important first step in a process which I believe will ultimately provide a tremendous opportunity for high quality, grass fed, Irish beef. I will be visiting the US in May and I look forward to raising this very important issue with my counterpart there during that visit."

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