Meat Industry Ireland (MII) has welcomed the announcement today, Monday, October 21, that 14 Irish beef processing plants have been authorised to export beef to China.

Cormac Healy, the senior director of MII, called it a “positive development coming after the extensive round of inspection audits of Irish plants by Chinese inspectors at the end of August / early September”.

These inspections were carried out in the midst of protests at the majority of beef processing plants around the country.

Healy added: “A massive amount of work by processors and MII has gone into getting to this point. The huge efforts of the DAFM [Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine] market access team should also be recognised.

This announcement builds on the progress made during 2018 and earlier this year which saw seven beef processing sites secure access to China.

The MII senior director continued: “Building access for Irish beef and other meats to international growth markets is crucial to maximising market returns to the entire sector, particularly when faced with challenging internal EU market conditions.”

Healy concluded by saying that MII will work with the department to ensure relevant paperwork is “promptly completed” so that exports could commence.

The approval of the plants was announced via Twitter earlier today by Minister Michael Creed, who said: “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,” the minister pointed out, while also thanking the department’s market access team.

Seven Irish beef plants had already been approved for export to China before today’s announcement.

Back in April, Liffey Meats became the seventh Irish processor to get approval.

Prior to that, in 2018, approval was granted to six other plants. These were: ABP Clones; Donegal Meat Processors (Foyle Meats); Slaney Foods International; ABP Nenagh; Kepak Clonee; and Dawn Meats Charleville.