April 18, 2018
China inspects BSE controls in UK prior to lifting of beef ban
The process leading to the lifting of China's BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease) ban on British beef has taken a major step forward with a Chinese delegation arriving in the UK this week to carry out inspections.
Five members of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) arrived on Sunday as part of a nine-day visit to look into the country's BSE controls, AHDB reported.
Hosted by the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the delegation is visiting farms, abattoirs, a BSE testing laboratory and rendering sites, as well as meeting with key UK government officials.
"It is still an ongoing process, but we will continue to play a key role in helping to steer discussions to ensure we unlock the full potential of the Chinese market for beef producers here in the UK", said Peter Hardwick, head of exports of the UK levy body Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board.
The opening of the Chinese market to British beef will be the first in over 20 years. The Chinese market is believed to be worth £250 million (US$357.4 million) in the first five years.
China is seeing an increase in beef consumption as its middle-income population grows. In 2015, it imported a total of £1.5 billion (US$2.146 billion) worth of beef, or double the amount imported in 2014.
Agreements were also reached in 2012 to export pork from the UK to China, with exports rising in value to £74 million ($105.836 million) in 2016.