British lamb shipped to US market for first time in over two decades
10 Oct 2022 --- British lamb has now been exported to the US for the first time in over 20 years. Industry estimates the US market will be worth £37 million (US$40.9 million) in the first five years of trade, opening up access for British farmers to a market of over 300 million US consumers.
After the Small Ruminant Rule that banned British and EU lamb imports for over 20 years was rescinded by the US government last January, the first consignment was flown to the US this week containing lamb produced by meat processor Dunbia from its site in Carmarthenshire, Wales.
“This represents a major achievement for the UK lamb industry,” remarks Dr. Richard Irvine, UK deputy chief veterinary officer.
“Gaining access for the export of British lamb to the US represents another success for British industry, in addition to the existing agreements enabling beef and pork exports from the UK to the US.”
Recovering from trade headaches
The UK’s latest trade development comes amid wider government efforts to drive growth for British food and farming, as the sector struggles to recover from Brexit woes, worker strikes and further impacts brought by COVID-19 and global inflation.
This announcement follows a string of export wins for the UK in the last two years, including its first export of beef to the US in decades and its first ever export of British pork to Chile. Recent resolutions have also been made on whisky exports.
“Expanding into markets such as these will be crucial to maintain the profitability of farm businesses,” comments UK farming coalition NFU president Minette Batters. Earlier this year I set out our ambition to grow our agri-foods exports by 30% by 2030.”
“We are delighted to see this first order of UK lamb heading to the US, following years of negotiations and hard work by AHDB, UK government and the wider industry to get our lamb back on American plates after an absence of more than 20 years,” says AHDB international market development director Dr. Phil Hadley.
UK food sector developments
Historically high inflation is leading to a rise in thefts in UK supermarkets where shoplifters are targeting meat. The recent increase in theft from the shelves has led some stores hiring “meat monitors.”
UK supermarket shoppers have also been shocked to discover security tagging on cheese, butter and other packaged foods during this inflationary period.
Inflation is just one of the issues coming to light following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Local food safety authorities have been leading blanket reforms to ensure the consistency of goods, amid systemic challenges related to its transition.
Edited by Benjamin Ferrer
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