British beef is on the way to the U.S. for the first time in more than 20 years after the U.S. granted the United Kingdom access in March 2020.
In 1996, the U.S. banned British beef following a BSE outbreak in the United Kingdom. The ban stayed in place until earlier this year. The first shipments of U.K. beef to the U.S. left Sept. 30, according to the U.K. government.
"This is great news for our food and farming industry, who have estimated it will bring a £66 million ($85 million) boost to beef producers over the next five years alone, helping the sector go from strength to strength," said Environment Secretary George Eustice.
Added International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, "This could be just the tip of the iceberg. The free trade deal we are negotiating with the U.S. will create a host of export opportunities for British agriculture. We are seeking an ambitious and high standards agreement that benefits farmers and delivers for consumers."
Through the Food is GREAT campaign, the U.K. government aims to raise the international profile and reputation of food and drink from across the U.K. and help more food and drink companies export their produce abroad.
"The U.S. represents an important potential market for our red meat exports and today’s first shipment is the result of the hard work and persistence of industry and government to bring about this crucial next step," said AHDB International Market Development Director Dr. Phil Hadley. "This important milestone will bring a fantastic boost to the sector and we look forward to seeing more of our red meat served up on dinner tables across the U.S. in the months and years to come."
Karen Pierce, British Ambassador to the U.S. added, "As we continue our current negotiations toward the U.K.-U.S. free-trade agreement, I look forward to seeing how we can increase opportunities for Americans to experience the best of British products."
Related: Post-Brexit free trade talks remain controversial - BBC
The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service Audit Report, a crucial step leading to British exporters being able to sell to the U.S., was published in March 2020, and confirmed that U.K. meat hygiene systems and controls are of a suitable, equivalent standard for products to be imported to the U.S. The report noted that the whole of the U.K. meets the U.S.’s production requirements, therefore beef from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is eligible for exports.
Prior to this announcement, FSIS inspected multiple premises across the U.K. between July-August 2019. This inspection visit had in turn been preceded by years of numerous market access and technical discussions between the U.S. and the U.K.