Scots appeal to US to lift import ban
Published:  05 December, 2011

The Scottish government has applied to the United States Department of Argriculture (USDA) to lift the ban currently imposed on red meat imports from Scotland.

The UK’s chief veterinary officer has applied to the USDA on Scotland’s behalf, outlining the case for importing quality Scottish beef, lamb, venison and haggis into the USA.

UK red meat has been banned in the USA since the BSE crisis in the 1980s. In addition, the US also bans the sale of any food products that contain either domestic or imported livestock lungs, which is an additional constraint for Scottish haggis manufacturers. This ban was first introduced in 1970s on public health grounds and still remains in place.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Exports to the USA are of key importance to our food and drink sector and this is a positive step forward in reintroducing red meat back into the crucial American market.

“Although there is a long way to go in the process, we remain proactive in encouraging the USDA to lift the long-standing ban on the importation of red meat and red meat products from Scotland and the rest of the EU. We will continue to pursue this issue for the benefit of our red meat industry.”

Jim McLaren, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), said: “Work to reopen Scotch beef and Scotch lamb exports in markets outside Europe has to be welcomed. With the huge popularity in the US of all things Scottish, hopefully these negotiations will one day give American consumers the chance to finally taste authentic, high-quality Scotch beef and lamb.”

QMS recently announced its strategy to strengthen exports within the EU, in particular the Benelux countries, Italy and France, as well a opening up markets in Germany and Scandinavia. Potential markets outside the EU include Russia and China.

>QMS targets northern Europe