Additional reporting by Claire Mc Cormack

A total of 14 new Irish beef plants have been approved to export to China, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has revealed.

Taking to social media today, Monday, October 21, the minister posted a tweet stating:

“Breaking: 14 new beef plants approved for export to China!

“I am delighted that all of the beef plants audited in September have now been approved by the Chinese authorities.


“There are now no outstanding plant applications. Well done to all Department of Agriculture Market Access Team,” the minister added.

Continuing, the minister said: “This is the strongest endorsement possible of Irish food safety standards; we were the first country in western Europe to achieve access to the Chinese market and now it is clear that our plants are meeting the high and exacting standards of the Chinese authorities.

The key ask of industry had been to have more plants approved in order to meet the growing demand coming from the Chinese market.

“Working together with our meat industry partners, Bord Bia, the Irish Embassy in Beijing and the Chinese Embassy in Dublin, we have achieved this,” Minister Creed said.

Ireland gained access to the Chinese beef market in April 2018; the latest approvals mean that 21 beef plants are now approved to export to China, increasing Ireland’s ability to supply a growing demand in China for premium quality, safe and sustainably produced beef, according to the Department of Agriculture.

China is currently Ireland’s fifth biggest market for agri-food exports and has grown significantly over the years. Total agri-food exports amounted to almost €800 million in 2018.

The amount of beef in tonnes exported to China from January to August 2019 was 4,651t, worth a total of €21.4 million.