You won’t find beef tongue or muscle on a menu in many Danish restaurants, but 125 million Japanese consumers provide a good market for beef bi-products. At least that’s what the Danish government believe, after it hailed Japan’s move to lift its import ban as an “important step”.
“The Japanese have very high food safety, and it is a great endorsement of Denmark as a food producer that we are among the first EU countries to again export beef to Japan,” said Eva Kjer, Denmark’s Minister of Environment and Food.
“It is an important step in the plan we have laid out to increase exports of Danish quality food to the gigantic Asian market, and I will press for countries like Vietnam and South Korea to follow in Japan’s footsteps.
“Last year, the Japanese health and food authorities carried out two comprehensive inspections of Danish beef producers. The goal was to document how Denmark is working with consumer and food safety,” Hansen added.
‘Getting the best’
As it stands, 10 Danish companies are lined up to have facilities inspected by Denmark’s food safety authority, the DVFA. Those who pass the rigorous Japanese safety standards will be given documentation to prove they can sell beef to Japan.
Eva Kjer Hansen said it was important Denmark secured the same access to global markets as Canada and the US, after the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact was finalised in 2015. Hansen used the recent events with Japan to call for the “importance of ongoing negations” for multiple free-trade agreements to ensure the EU can access Asia-Pacific markets in the same way as Australia and Canada, and the New Zealand and the US will soon be able to.
“Exports of tongue and muscle to Japan shows that Danish companies are good at getting the best out of the raw materials we produce," said Karen Haekkerup, the CEO of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council.
“The diaphragm muscles are today not in very high demand in Europe; it mostly goes to ground meat. In Japan it is a delicacy and can be sold at good prices. It illustrates very well how Danish food is able to innovate and find new outlets.”