Eblex has been preparing the UK beef and lamb sector for the opening of the US market, should a trade agreement be reached between the two countries.
A series of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-style mock inspections have taken place at 10 processing plants across the UK, with the aim of helping processors understand the level of detailed information required by the USDA “to help negotiate market access and gain approval for exports of ruminant material to the US in the future”. The organisation believes real US inspections could start at UK factories next year.
Eblex added that the inspections took place in order to establish and compare official meat hygiene controls and processing standards to ensure they fully complied with the USDA import needs.
Dr Phil Hadley, Eblex head of supply chain development, said: “While we do not currently have access to the US market for ruminant meat, we felt it was prudent to ensure our industry is as fully prepared as possible. We anticipate an official inspection visit in early 2015 and this will hopefully enable access should an agreement be reached.
“Eblex, working in partnership with other key stakeholder organisations, has taken the lead in terms of understanding the market. With an official inspection visit anticipated soon, it’s important to ensure we put ourselves in the best possible position and are fully aware of the level of detail the USDA needs in place to help us gain access to the US market.”