DAFM will lead a trade mission to the United States to promote sheep meat

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The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) is due to lead a trade mission to the United States next spring to promote Irish sheepmeat.

It follows a decision to lift the ban on the entry of sheep meat from the European Union (EU) into the United States.

Exports of this meat from the EU to the USA have been banned due to the presence of scrapie in some EU Member States. This ban is now lifted.

Bord Bia said it was an important step for Irish growers to access the US market.

US consumption

Overall sheepmeat consumption in the United States is expected to be 185,000t this year, according to Bord Bia.

In 2020, 133,000 tonnes of sheep meat worth €886 million were imported into the United States and accounted for two-thirds of total consumption.

The two main suppliers of imported sheepmeat to the United States are New Zealand and Australia, accounting for 99% of all imports by volume.

Bord Bia said growing U.S. lamb consumption levels, albeit from a small base, have led to increased demand for lamb, but that is not expected to spur a recovery in the national production.

Irish mutton

Bord Bia chief executive Tara McCarthy said the group was excited about the prospect of promoting Irish sheepmeat in the United States in the coming months.

“Our aim will be to raise the profile of Irish grass-fed sheepmeat by promoting it as a premium natural product from quality assured farms and providing full traceability from farm to fork” , McCarthy said.

Next spring, the DAFM will conduct a trade mission with Bord Bia in the United States, which will include a series of “lamb-focused meetings” with major importers.

Bord Bia USA Director Henry Horkan said, “Engaging with key importers and customers over the next few months will pave the way for the launch of lamb in the USA.

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