The opening of the US market to beef from Britain has been hailed as great news for producers in Wales.

The first shipments of UK beef departed for the USA on September 30 following the USA’s longstanding ban on EU beef – introduced in the wake of the BSE outbreak in 1996.

Welsh beef producers now have access to the US market for the first time in over 20 years – with industry estimating beef exports will be worth £66million over the next five years.

The first four UK food businesses, based in Wales and Northern Ireland, have now been officially listed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service as eligible to export UK beef to the USA.

They include Merthyr Tydfil based Kepak Group Limited which can now start production and export of UK beef for US consumers. It is expected that in the coming months, more food businesses across Wales and the rest of the UK will be able to take advantage of this exciting new export opportunity.

Secretary of State for Wales and west Wales MP Simon Hart said: “The opening of the US market is excellent news for beef producers across Wales and highlights confidence in our world-renowned food and drink sector.

“Unlocking this market is a major step forward for the sector and demonstrates the UK Government’s commitment to boost exports of the best of Welsh produce.”

As one of the world leaders for animal welfare standards, UK beef is globally recognised for its provenance, quality and traceability.