'Historic moment': UK beef heads to US for first time in 20 years

Beef from the UK is on its way to the lucrative US market, in a deal estimated to be worth £66m over the next five years
Beef from the UK is on its way to the lucrative US market, in a deal estimated to be worth £66m over the next five years

The first shipments of British beef is being prepared for the US for the first time in more than 20 years, representing a 'historic moment' for UK farmers.

Shipments of beef will be heading to the United States for the first time in two decades after three processing sites were this week given the go-ahead to export.

The first containers are due to arrive within the coming weeks, in a deal estimated to be worth £66 million over the next five years.

Numerous farming industry groups working alongside the government have worked for years to seal the lucrative deal.



It comes after market access for UK beef was granted in March of this year, following the US’s longstanding ban on EU beef – introduced in the wake of the BSE outbreak in 1996.

Figures show last year was one of the best years on record for UK red meat exports - rocketing to more than £1.5 billion.



According to HMRC, the total value of red meat exports rose 13% year-on-year, with more than 661,000 tonnes of pork, lamb and beef shipped around the world.

AHDB International Market Development Director, Dr Phil Hadley said beef shipments to the American market represented a 'historic moment' for British farmers.

“We are rightly proud of our industry, which has a reputation for producing high quality beef to some of the best welfare standards in the world," he said.

“The US represents an important potential market for our red meat exports and this development is the result of the hard work and persistence of industry and government to bring about this crucial next step.

“This important milestone will bring a fantastic boost to the sector and we look forward to seeing more of our red meat served up on dinner tables across the US in the months and years to come.”

Organisations that worked to complete the deal include the AHDB, APHA, FSA, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and UKECP.