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US market will import UK lamb from January after two decades of restrictions

·2 min read

Exports of British lamb to the United States are set to resume in January.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has amended the rule which currently prevents imports of lamb from the UK into the US.

The amended “small ruminant rule” will come into force on January 3 next year.

Defra said that the small ruminant rule (SRR) previously restricted access to the US market for all sheep meat from the UK, as well as a number of other countries including EU member states and Canada.

This development clears the way for Defra to work with the Department for International Trade (DIT) and UK food safety authorities, such as the FSA, DAERA and FSS, and counterparts in the US, in completing the final necessary steps to achieving the full resumption of UK lamb exports to the US.

The US decision comes after President Joe Biden committed to lifting the ban in a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in September and it is estimated that this market will be worth £37 million in the first five years of trade.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Today’s great news follows years of negotiations and builds on the success in securing the resumption of UK beef exports to the US.

“UK lamb is renowned for its high quality, food safety and welfare standards.

“Millions of US consumers will now be able to enjoy British lamb as early as next year.

“The US market for lamb is growing as consumer trends change and there are now new opportunities for farmers and meat processors in this market.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord added: “This massive new export opportunity is fantastic news for farmers in Scotland and around the UK.

“US consumers will be licking their lips at the prospect of soon being able to tuck into our world-class lamb.”

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who is due to visit the US next week, added: “This is fantastic news that brings UK farmers a step closer to putting their first-class lamb on American menus for the first time in more than 20 years.

“The UK exported £436.4 million worth of lamb to the world last year and more than £29 million worth of meat to the US.

“We want those numbers to grow and this win will help achieve that.”

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