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Coveney Welcomes New Opportunity for Beef Exports to South Africa Following Recognition of BSE Controls

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today welcomed a decision by the South African authorities, following representations from his Department and the Irish Embassy, Pretoria, to bring their BSE testing requirements for Irish beef exported to the Republic of South Africa into line with those of the EU. This means that for the purposes of trade with South Africa, the minimum age for BSE testing of healthy cattle slaughtered for human consumption will be increased from 48 months to 72 months. The South African decision corresponds with the increase in the age of BSE testing for intra-community trade which has been in effect since 1st July this year.

The Minister highlighted the importance of the Republic of South Africa as a key third country market for Irish beef and offal and said that "this positive decision removes a significant technical barrier for our beef exporters and should also help to reduce their costs and alleviate any associated administrative burdens". The Minister added that "this good news follows on foot of last month's decision by the Russian Federation, another critical third country market for Irish beef, to align their BSE testing requirements with those of the EU." He emphasised that the recent decisions by both countries pointed to a tangible recognition by them of the effectiveness of our BSE controls.

The Minister said that his Department would continue to petition other countries that continue to demand more stringent BSE testing regimes than those pertaining in the EU to match the new requirements and increase the age of testing to 72 months. Concluding, the Minister stressed that he and his Department would continue to work on developing improved opportunities for the export of Irish meat and meat products to as many global markets as possible.

Note to Editors:

Last year some 3196 tonnes of beef (including offal) valued at approximately €6.25 million were exported to South Africa


 

Date Released: 08 August 2011