‘Huge potential’ for Welsh Lamb in US if access granted

The momentum behind exporting Welsh Lamb to the United States is growing, after one importer claimed to be “very excited about Welsh Lamb”. 

Imports of British lamb (and beef) to the US were banned several years ago due to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). However, the UK’s governments have been working to re-establish trade.

Attending a two-day TasteWales event, hosted by the Welsh Government in March, international delegates were able to sample first-hand the quality of PGI Welsh Lamb and to further develop trade relationships.

Atlanta-based distributor, John Rodger (pictured centre), expressed a keen interest in exporting Welsh Lamb to the US once market access was granted. “We think the market has huge potential,” he explained. “We love the stories behind the product and the fact that it’s produced on traditional family farms. Our customers would love these stories too.”

Welsh Lamb and Beef are sponsored by Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), which was in attendance at the event. The meats were presented to diners during a networking session for delegates, with Welsh Lamb being served at the main event dinner on the opening TasteWales night. “I thoroughly enjoyed the Welsh Lamb dinner,” added Rodger.

“The UK is right up there in terms of importing to the US, and these products are distributed to country clubs, hotels and major retailers around the country. We already import Welsh cheese to the US, and have major dealings with the meat business. Hopefully, we’ll be selling Welsh Lamb to the US soon too.”

Alex James, export market development manager (pictured left), said that the meeting with Rodger represented exciting developments in securing trade. “We were pleased to attend TasteWales alongside some of Wales’ largest red meat processors,” he said. “It was a fantastic opportunity to meet influential domestic and international buyers and promote red meat from Wales.

“Over the coming months, HCC is looking forward to continued good progress towards openings up market access to the US,” James continued. “Previous research showed that the market could be worth £20 million a year for the Welsh red meat industry.”

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) last year announced consultations on bringing American animal health rules in line with other countries. Earlier this year, red meat exporters, including representatives from companies which own the three largest processing plants in Wales, visited Washington DC to learn more about US regulations on beef and lamb imports.

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