Additional Irish meat plants given green light for export to China

A number of additional Irish beef plants, plus one extra pork plant, have been given the green light to export to China, Minister Creed has confirmed.

It is intended that final administration details to register these plants will be completed shortly.

Speaking following the first day of the Irish Government trade mission to China – headed by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed and Bord Bia – the minister unveiled this significant development following meetings with his Chinese counterparts.

However, during the press briefing the minister outlined that he could not reveal which plants have been granted approval in this latest run.

He indicated that Chinese authorities would do so in the coming days.

Minister Creed met with the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Han Changfu, and Minister Zhang Mao of the newly-established Chinese agency – the State Market Regulatory Administration.

“These were incredibly productive meetings with excellent results. A number of additional Irish beef plants and one additional pork plant have now met the required approval standards to export to China.

This brings to six the number of Irish beef plants that will initially be able to export beef.

“As well as the progress achieved in relation to our beef plants, I am very pleased that another pigmeat plant has also met the approval standards for China.

“This means that all our major pigmeat export plants will be eligible for export. China is the world’s largest pigmeat consumer and pork remains the main form of meat consumed here,” the minister said.

We also held preliminary discussions around the issues of approval for additional plants as well as the prospect of sheepmeat access.

The trade mission comes after the announcement in April of the Chinese market opening for Irish beef.

Despite increases in domestic beef production in China, consumer demand for premium imported beef is forecast to rise significantly. It is understood that this is driven by increasing consumption and higher disposable incomes and health awareness.

The three processing plants which have already received approval are:
  • ABP Clones, Co. Monaghan;
  • Slaney Meats, Co. Wexford;
  • Donegal Meat processors.

Last month it was also revealed that a second tranche of processors were also awaiting approval – these included: ABP Nenagh; Kepak Clonee; Kildare Chilling; Liffey Meats; and Dawn Meats, Charleville, Co. Cork.

Conor Finnerty reporting from China.