A Co Donegal meat factory has been given a massive boost this morning as it has been announced the Chinese market has been opened to Irish beef.
The country is Ireland’s third largest market – last year our agri-food exports there were worth nearly a billion Euro.
China banned beef from the EU and US during the BSE crisis in 2000 – that ban was officially lifted three years ago but trade still hasn’t resumed – until now.
It’s understood at least three beef factories here have been fully approved by the Chinese authorities and are the first European beef processors to gain access there.
There are hopes that approvals for five more will follow soon.
The factories that have been fully approved, and can actively export to China from this morning, include the Donegal Meat Processors in Carrigans.
All of these meat factories have succeeded in satisfying the most exacting production standards demanded by the Chinese and are the first European beef factories to gain access to the Chinese market.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed says todays announcement follows years of hard work and presents an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector, from farmers through to processors.