Irish Beef Is On Sale In The US

Irish Beef Exporters held events in three US cities last month in order to celebrate the arrival of Irish beef in America.

Beef from the EU has been off the retail shelves in the US since it imposed its ban after the BSE outbreak over 15 years ago.

Irish beef is the first to be accepted for sale in the US. A trade mission led by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney covered three cities, New York, Washington D.C, and Boston, with high-profile promotional events around Irish beef for each city. Coveney says, “This visit to the US represents a huge opportunity to promote Irish beef in one of the most valuable markets in the world.”

“Irish beef is the choice of some of the world’s leading chefs with over 80 Michelin star chefs in Bord Bia’s Chef’s club. Their endorsement provides further evidence to the US audience that Irish beef is unique in terms of flavor, taste, texture and tenderness.” He said that the visit was planned to build on the momentum generated by the US announcement last month that Ireland is the only EU member state approved for access there. Irish beef companies accompanied Coveney on the visit, along with Bord Bia who used the tour to launch their strategy for the marketing of Irish beef in the US. Among the high profile promotional events was a launch for high-end trade buyers in New York, featuring a range of international chefs who endorsed the premium quality of Irish beef.

Sysco Corp. reached an agreement with ABP Foods Group to sell Irish beef in the United States making ABP Food the first Irish company to reach such a deal. The deal is worth about $17 million. Pallas Foods, a subsidiary of Sysco based in Ireland, facilitated the agreement.

ABP will supply beef to Sysco Metro New York and Sysco Boston locations. Steakhouses and restaurants will be the initial customers. Shipments are expected to begin in March.

“We look forward to developing and growing our partnership with Sysco who will be key in helping us bring our sustainable, grass fed, hormone free Irish beef to the plates of US consumers,” said Paul Finnerty, CEO of ABP Food Group 

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“We greatly appreciate the efforts made by Tadhg Geary and Pallas Foods in helping build this international partnership.”

“Our initial focus will be on the Northeastern region of the US where we will concentrate on establishing Irish beef in a sustainable and measured way,” he added. “I would also like to commend the work of the Minister, the Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia in helping to achieve the significant milestone for the Irish beef sector.”

The announcement comes as Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD led a three-day promotion tour for Irish beef in New York on Feb. 9. Coveney said, “This is about building on the momentum of the recent announcement that Irish beef is the only European beef approved for sale in the US.”

“New York was the first day of our three-city promotional tour and it’s fitting that we start here in a city with a reputation for high quality food but also with deep links with Ireland,” he said. “Our key aim is to build awareness and generate excitement about Irish beef among trade buyers and opinion formers.”

Coveney also is hosting a number of bilateral meetings with key US food buyers to highlight Irish beef.

Joining Coveney on the promotional tour are leading Irish beef exporters.

Ireland became the first European Union member to regain access to the US market for beef after US officials lifted a 15-year ban on beef produced in the EU. The ban came in response to an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the EU during the 1990s. Irish authorities started the process of approving individual beef plants to export beef products to the US after a successful inspection by US authorities of Ireland's beef production systems in July 2014.