EU-US Free Trade Agreement opportunities discussed during industry visit

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

Eblex said it would take away some ideas from the trip
Eblex said it would take away some ideas from the trip

Related tags: Meat export federation, International trade, Meat, Us meat export federation, Beef, Lamb

The potential opportunities for the beef and lamb sector from a Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the USA were discussed at a recent industry exchange trip earlier this month.

The trip included visits to lamb and beef plants and retail outlets in Denver, USA, with delegates able to get see first-hand how meat was sourced from local supply chains in high volumes.

It also covered the advanced use of breeding genetics, as well as growth hormones, and the microbiological requirements that could be imposed on EU meat if current trade talks result in product being eligible for export to the US.

The US Meat Export Federation outlined to the delegates how the meat industry is supported domestically, commercially and scientifically, and the work undertaken to back its export work.

Christine Walsh, supply chain development manager at UK beef and lamb levy body Eblex, was among 25 European delegates to take part in the week-long visit.

Also representing Britain on the Young European Meat Committee (YEMCO), Walsh said: "It was particularly useful to compare and contrast how things are done in the US in comparison to the approaches taken in Europe.

"The sheer scale of their production and processing plants introduced many benefits in the form of economies of scale. However, it also meant management and process control was vital to ensuring safe food production."

She said the other eye-opener was the move towards fatter animals. "Fat is deposited first onto the mesentery and lastly as intramuscular or marbling. Marbled meat is hugely important to meat palatability. Americans believed that their meat had become too lean, which had detracted from the quality. As a result, the US industry is undergoing a huge change and reversing the trend for reduced fat."

She added: "There were several ideas that Eblex will look to include in its offering to the red meat processing sectors to simplify the process, improve efficiency and reduce costs."

Related topics: Meat

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