UK plant to export 50 tonnes of pork to China per week

Around 50 tonnes of British pork will be shipped to China each week
Around 50 tonnes of British pork will be shipped to China each week

A major UK meat plant is set to export around 50 tonnes of British pork a week to China after gaining approval.

The meat will be exported from Quality Pork Ltd's Brechin site following a strict approval process involving the government.

The Angus-based plant processes around 5,500 pigs and 300 sows per week and employs 90 staff.

Exports of pork from the EU have substantially increased mainly due to the continuing effects of African swine fever on China.

At 218,000 tonnes, exports of fresh and frozen pork out of the EU to the world were up 31% in volume and 40% in value in May 2019, compared to the previous year.

The market was worth €548.9 million (£493m), new figures from AHDB Pork shows.

The Brechin approval is one of a number of recent UK plant approvals, which includes Tulip’s Westerley plant.

Quality Pork's plant will initially be supplying pork by-products, but it may also export more primal cuts to China in the coming months.

Andy McGowan, chief executive of Scottish Pig Producers, said: “This is testament to what farmers, QPL, Tulip Ltd and multiple government agencies can achieve when we all work together and was one of the major objectives of the Scottish Pig Industry Strategy launched last year.

“We look forward to this additional export value created bringing benefits to all in the supply chain.”

It follows recent analysis by Rabobank which shows that China could lose hundreds of millions of pigs because of the swine fever crisis, reducing the country's herd by 55 percent.