The Irish Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have agreed a roadmap for the approval of exports of Irish manufacturing beef to the US.

The current approval for the export of Irish beef to the US allows “intact beef” to be shipped. As of now, this beef must be sold as raw product in the US and may not be ground (minced) in the US before being placed on the market.

Thus, the beef currently being exported to the US is in the form of primal and subprimal cuts.

Minister Simon Coveney said this week that he is fully aware of the importance of securing this additional approval to export manufacturing beef given the high prices for such product in the US right now.

“This is an issue I also pursued with my US counterpart, Tom Vilsack Secretary Agriculture when we met in Washington,” he said.

According to the Minister his officials are working intensively with their counterparts the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) of the USDA to agree and put in place procedures to allow Ireland to export beef intended for grinding to the US.

“We have agreed a roadmap for how such approval might be achieved but there are a number of processes to be completed first and we are currently working through these.”

The Minister also said this week that he is delighted to see that the first commercial shipments of Irish beef have landed in the US.

“Indeed the very first shipment was served at the annual Ireland-America Fund attended by the Taoiseach during his St Patrick’s day visit.

“This was a huge marketing opportunity to serve our beef to a hugely influential Irish-American network and one which we exploited to the full, he added.