U.S. Lifts Ban on Irish Beef
By Irish America Staff
February / March 2015
The U.S. agreed last year to lift the ban on Irish beef. The ban had been in place for 16 years, following a Europe-wide ban in the late 1990s due to an outbreak of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.
Ireland is the first country in the European Union to regain access to the U.S. beef market and the reaction in Ireland is one of jubilation. “This is a huge prize, given the size of the market and the demand we know exists there for premium grass-fed beef,” said Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, speaking on Irish radio. Ireland’s beef exports to the U.S. may total at least 50 million euro ($59.6 million) to 100 million euro this year, with the potential for shipments “to go way beyond that in the future,” he added.
Drought and rising feed prices have had a severe effect on U.S. beef production. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. cattle numbers are at their lowest point since 1951, making Irish beef competitive in the North American market.