December 17, 2008


Extensive meat testing disrupts EU's beef trade

EU's beef and live cattle exports are disrupted by extensive meat testing, a result of the dioxin-tainted Irish pork scandal.


Some EU buyers have introduced extensive testing of Irish beef, while veterinary inspectors in Italy began testing Irish beef for dioxins.


Italian officials checked up to one-in-five Irish beef products for possible contamination, while caused delays of between one and two days before products reached supermarket shelves.


All beef cuts from carcasses to bone-in products and individual meat cuts were subject to investigation.


Germany and Poland also introduced new testing procedures, which led to buyers reducing their orders.


Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, said the issues will be resolved and normal trading will return soon.


The British trade, which accounts for more than half of total exports, is continuing as normal, said Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter.


Exporters said the effect of the tainted pork issue had negatively impacted Irish live cattle exports, as supermarkets in Italy and Spain have a complete preference for German and French cattle over Irish cattle. 


Irish live cattle exports totalled 207,000 head last year, valued at EUR110 million (US$155 million).


This year, Irish live cattle exports have dropped 30 percent from last year, reaching 141,347 head as of November 22.

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