Gulf region lifts ban on Irish beef and sheep meat
‘Milestone’ move reverses restrictions in place because of concerns over BSE and scrapie disease
Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney will lead a trade mission to the Gulf in October to boost Irish food exports to those countries. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
The ban on the export of Irish beef and sheep meat to the Gulf region has been lifted in a move described as a “milestone decision” by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) formally lifted the ban which had been put in place more than ten years ago because of concerns related to BSE and scrapie disease. The ban was implemented by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, (UAE) Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.
A veterinary delegation from the GCC visited Ireland in February of this year to inspect the safety and quality controls involved in the production of Irish beef and sheep meat.
Saudi Arabia had already lifted a ban on Irish beef while the UAE had lifted the ban on Irish beef, sheep meat and poultry but Mr Coveney said the formal lifting of the GCC-wide ban meant Ireland could now export Irish beef and lamb within the GCC as a whole.
The region has a combined population of almost 43.5 million people and is a significant importer of food products.
Mr Coveney said his department would now work to agree veterinary health certificates with all GCC countries for beef and lamb so that exports of these products to these countries could commence as soon as possible.
He also said he would be leading a trade mission to the Gulf region in late October to boost Irish food exports to those countries.