Irish beef is on the way back to America – with five star restaurants set to taste juicy stakes from across the Atlantic once again.
The Irish Independent newspaper reports that plans are underway to allow beef exports from Ireland to America to resume again.
The paper states that American authorities have taken a ‘major step’ that will allow grass fed Irish beef to be imported into the States.
Draft legislation published by the US proposes that trade rules on beef imports be revised and brought into line with the approach taken on BSE by the World Organisation for Animal Health.
The legislation is now subject to a 60-day public consultation but, if passed, will allow EU and Irish beef exports to resume for the first time since the 1997 BSE crisis.
Ireland’s agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has welcomed the news.
“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,” Coveney told the paper.
“Ireland has been to the forefront in pressing the US authorities for a level playing field for EU beef.”
Irish farmers are keen to get back to American markets as soon as possible.
Their Farmers’ Association President John Bryan said: “The move to reopen the US market for Irish beef would be a major prize and one that should be pursued vigorously.”
Meat Industry Ireland spokesman Cormac Healy said: “This market is going to be low volume, high value. Irish exporters will concentrate on the high-end steak-cut market.”
The Irish government agency Bord Bia believes the American market could be worth $40million a year in exports.
Bord Bia’s Joe Burke said: “What Irish exporters will be after in the US is the high value niche markets. We’ll be aiming to sell Irish beef as natural, wholesome, hormone-free, grass-fed beef.
“The US market could offer opportunities to market prime hindquarter cuts from Ireland. It is hoped that our beef would fit into the ‘natural’ category, a premium niche reserved for hormone-free, grass-fed cattle.”