Ireland has secured beef access to the valuable United States market for the first time in 15 years. Ireland is the first country in the European Union to regain access to the market following a European-wide ban put in place since in the late 1990s.

The new access to the American market comes after a successful inspection of Ireland’s beef production systems by the US authorities in July 2014.

Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney said, “This is the culmination of two years of intensive work between my Department and our US counterparts to prove our credentials as a supplier of highest quality premium beef.”

Beef from Europe has been barred from the United States since the ban was imposed due to the outbreak of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a disease commonly known as mad cow disease, over 15 years ago and this ban was only formally lifted in March 2014.

This US decision clears the way for the Irish authorities to approve individual beef plants to export to the US, approval for which will be based on agreed criteria with their US counterparts. The Department has been working with interested Irish plants to assess their readiness and suitability for export for some time and this work will intensify now in order that the trade can formally commence as soon as possible.

So all you Irish food lovers in the United States better brush up on your beef recipes in preparation.

Here are just a few to get you started:

- Hearty and warming Irish beef and onion pie recipe

- The perfect Irish Sunday roast