The United Kingdom has exported £19 million ($25.9 million) worth of red meat to the United States in the first year since a ban on beef was lifted.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) data shows 1,211 tons (2.7 million pounds) of beef was exported to America between January and August this year. Four sites in the UK are listed to ship beef to the United States.

During the same period, more than 4,600 tons (10.1 million pounds) of pig meat was sent to the United States, which is up nearly 10 percent compared to 2020.

The United States banned beef from Europe after the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak in 1996. BSE is also called mad cow disease. The country started to reopen its market for beef from the EU, starting with the Republic of Ireland, in 2015. Market access for UK beef was granted in March 2020.

Attractive beef market
Susana Morris, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) senior export manager for the Americas, said the figures were encouraging.

“America is proving to be an attractive market for our beef as the country is experiencing high domestic consumption, rising demand from international customers and stronger demand from retail and foodservice as well as lower stocks in cold storage. There is also strong demand for meat in the United States due in part to extra household savings – all of which presents an opportunity for us to take a larger slice of the market and grow our shipments even further,” she said.

“Pork prices in the United States are also high compared to a year ago due to tight supplies and a lack of market-ready pigs, tighter production schedules and strong demand has led to lower stocks in cold storage. This combined with the suspension of the 25 percent tariff earlier this year has given our exporters a fantastic boost and we look forward to seeing these figures increase.”

Exports of pork and beef to Canada have also grown this year. Pork shipments are up 54 percent to 1,183 tons (2.5 million pounds) and beef shipments reached 1,341 tons (2.95 million pounds).

In September this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the United States would also lift the ban on British imports of lamb but no shipments have yet started.

A case of classical BSE, detected on a farm in Somerset, England, was reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in mid-September. This led to the Philippines temporarily banning beef exports from the UK and China halting imports of cattle under 30 months of age.

The animal was not sent for slaughter and did not enter the food chain with UK officials saying there was no threat to food safety or human health.

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