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Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Coveney: Irish beef will be on American shelves by autumn

Officials from the US agriculture department will first need to conclude audits on Irish farms.
Jun 27th 2014, 10:04 PM 9,883 68

MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE Simon Coveney has said he is “confident” that Irish beef will be sold in shops in the United States by autumn this year.

However, it is still pending approval by the US government’s agriculture department.

Speaking at the end of a four-day mission to Washington, he said that Ireland’s grass-based farm model was a “key theme” to create a point of difference for Irish produce.

“Following a significant diplomatic and technical effort, we have made real progress on obtaining access for Irish beef to the US,” Coveney said.

Subject to a forthcoming audit of Irish beef plants by USDA going as expected; I am confident that Irish beef can be on US retail shelves by early Autumn this year.

After that, sights will be set on gaining access to the US market for sheepmeat.

Coveney met with a number of government officials during the trip to outline “ambitious plans” for the agri-food sector.

The minister has faced criticism from opposition TDs, who believe he should ‘tackle the beef crisis at home and in the EU’.

In a statement this evening, Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Martin Ferris said the “crisis in the beef industry has caused hardship and stress among producers recently and it seems that the government and Minister Simon Coveney are happy to let the market rule”.

“The problem is that the market can be manipulated by the beef barons and by the large multiple retailers who change specification and introduce penalties at will, while the minister sits on his hands,” he said. Ferris announced that his party is organising a meeting with been farmers and dealers in the beef industry in an attempt to find solutions to the ‘crisis facing the industry’.

Read: Japan ends 12-year-ban and reopens its market to Irish beef >

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Nicky Ryan

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