Gulf export ban on Irish beef lifted

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Food Safety Committee has lifted a ban on Irish meat exports to the Gulf region a decade after it was introduced.

The bans were initially implemented because of concerns relating to scrapie and BSE, and affected the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The move was welcomed by minister for agriculture, food and the marine Simon Coveney TD, who said it was “a clear signal from the GCC of their confidence in the rigorous controls and excellent standards of food safety in Ireland”.

For a number of years, the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Irish Embassies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Bord Bía had tried to resolve the trading dispute that has now been resolved.

In February this year, veterinary delegates from the GCC visited Ireland where they were shown the true safety and quality of Irish beef and sheepmeat.

The lifting of the ban is a significant opportunity for Irish meat, considering the GCC has a population of 43.5m people.

Coveney also announced his decision to lead a trade mission to the Gulf region from 27 October to 1 November, to emphasise the importance of Irish beef and what it can offer.