Approval for 14 Irish meat plants to export beef to China

Department of Agriculture confirms access for additional plants


A further 14 Irish meat plants have been approved to export beef to the fast-growing Chinese market, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has confirmed.

Ireland gained access to the Chinese beef market last yer and the latest approvals mean that 21 beef plants are now approved to export to China.

The Asian state is currently Ireland’s fifth largest export market for agri-food and has grown significantly over the years. Total agri-food exports amounted to almost €800 million in 2018.

Meat plants here have exported 4,651 tonnes, worth over €21 million, to China in the first eight months of this year.

Beef is now the fastest-growing meat in China, outstripping stagnant demand for more widely-eaten pork as consumers look to reduce fat in their diets.

But supplies are unlikely to keep up with demand given the high cost of raising cattle in China, prompting the government to rethink its import restrictions.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed welcomed the news that all of the beef plants which were audited in September have now been approved by the Chinese Authorities.

“This is the strongest endorsement possible of Irish food safety standards, we were the first country in western Europe to achieve access to the Chinese market and now it is clear that our plants are meeting the high and exacting standards of the Chinese authorities,” he said.

“ The key ask of industry had been to have more plants approved in order to meet the growing demand coming from the Chinese market,” he said.