Ban on sheepmeat exports to US could be lifted this year

The TSE ban prohibiting the export of sheepmeat from the EU to the US could be lifted by the end of 2016, Brendan Gleeson of the Department of Agriculture has said.

Gleeson was speaking today (Friday) at the Bord Bia Meat Prospects Seminar at the Kilashee House Hotel in Co. Kildare.

He said that a letter of interest regarding sheepmeat was sent to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) before December last year.

However, in order for Irish sheepmeat exports to be eligible for the US the TSE ban needs to be lifted.

“There’s a possibility it (the ban lifting) could happen this year before the US elections.”

During 2014, Ireland exported an estimated 46,500t of sheepmeat which was valued at approximately €218m.

The UK and France continue to be the core markets for Irish sheepmeat accounting for over 60% of total export volumes in 2014.

Annual sheep slaughterings in Ireland amount to approximately 3m head. France remains the main export destination for Irish Lamb.

What is TSE?

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) is more commonly known as scrapie in Ireland. It was first identified in 1732 and is a fatal infectious disease of sheep and goats.

Related to BSE in cattle and CDJ in humans, it is different though to the other two as it is naturally transmissible in the wild between sheep and goats.