British beef returns to the United States |

British beef returns to the United States

The first shipments of beef from the United Kingdom to the United States since 1996 were scheduled to depart from Northern Ireland on Wednesday, the U.K. government said in a news release.

The U.S. ban on EU beef was introduced in 1996 in the wake of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease.

“Today’s news means the sector can now begin to reap the economic benefits of trade with the U.S. — with industry estimating beef exports will be worth £66 million ($85 million) over the next five years,” the U.K. government said.

The U.K. government news release noted that a USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Foreign Audit Report published in March confirmed that U.K. meat hygiene systems and controls are of a suitable, equivalent standard for products to be imported to the United States.

The report noted that the whole of the U.K. meets U.S. production requirements, therefore beef from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is eligible for exports.