Chief Vet welcomes China’s decision to lift ban on NI beef

Robert Huey
Robert Huey

The decision by China to lift the BSE ban on UK beef has been welcomed by Northern Ireland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Robert Huey.

China today lifted its longstanding ban on exports of beef from the UK, in a landmark move for producers, including those in Northern Ireland.

The lifting of the ban, first imposed over 20 years ago, follows two successful inspection visits to the UK in 2017 and 2018. During the visits Chinese inspectors spent several days in Northern Ireland inspecting official BSE controls in feed mills, slaughter plants and at the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute (AfBI) laboratory.

The inspectors were briefed by officials from DAERA veterinary service and Food Standards Agency (FSA) on all aspects of BSE systems and procedures in Northern Ireland and the high standards that earned BSE negligible risk status in 2017.

Dr Robert Huey said: “This is wonderful news for the beef industry in Northern Ireland and is a major step to opening up access to the Chinese market. This follows a huge amount of work within DAERA and with our industry partners, both primary producers and beef processors. I’d also like to commend the efforts of the Northern Ireland Bureau in China, AFBI, the Livestock and Meat Commission, the NI Grain Trade Association and the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association in helping to open this important export market.

“The Department has built close ties with China over several years through a number of visits by Ministers and officials, and through our relationship with the Chinese Consulate in Belfast. This announcement today further strengthens the bond with China.”