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Minister welcomes Scotch beef announcement

Scotch beef will be exported to America again for the first time in 20 years.

The meat was banned amid concerns about BSE, known as mad cow disease, entering the food chain.

The US department of agriculture has now lifted the restrictions - a move which has been welcomed by farmers in Southern Scotland.

The Rural Affairs Minister, Richard Lochhead MSP, spoke to ITV Border about the news.


Move on Scotch beef is "massive breakthrough"

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has hailed the move to reintroduce Scotch beef to the American market as a "massive breakthrough".

He said:

"I'm delighted that these long-standing trade barriers have been lifted. Scotch beef has been off the menu in the USA for far too long and the reopening of an extremely lucrative market is a tremendous opportunity to expand our beef exports and one which I am keen for the industry to grasp.

"We look forward to the USA agreeing to the resumption of imports of other iconic Scottish products such Scotch lamb and haggis, and this deal on beef may well be an important step forward to achieving that. Of course, there are still a few technical details of this beef agreement to be ironed out, such as heath certificates, so it will be next year at the earliest before any export activity starts.

"So it vitally important to Scotland's hard-pressed red meat industry that the UK Government and (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary) Owen Paterson start to put the necessary staff and procedures in place now to avoid any unnecessary delay."

Scotch beef ban lifted

EU beef was previously banned in America Credit: Maximilian Schönherr/DPA/Press Association Images

Scotch beef is going back on the menu for people in the US for the first time in almost 20 years.

A decision from the United States Department of Agriculture will reopen its market to EU beef and other bovine products.

The move overturns a ban introduced in the 1990s as a result of concerns about BSE entering the human food chain.