First British lamb exports to US commence after two decades

First British lamb exports to US commence after two decades

Lamb is once again being exported from the UK to the US for the first time in more than two decades by Dunbia. The company is one of the leading meat companies in the UK specialising in the production of lamb.

The first consignment went from its site in Carmarthenshire, Wales, and will arrive in time for a gathering of US industry leaders at the Meat Importers Council of America (MICA) annual conference.

The export follows moves by US authorities to amend the ‘small ruminant’ rule which prevented the export of lamb from the UK and other countries for more than 20 years. Trade with the US is estimated by AHDB to be worth £37 million to the sheep sector over the first five years of trade.

AHDB confirmed that the US is “proving a valuable market” for red meat exports, with shipments of pork and beef worth more than £24 million in the first seven months of 2022.

According to HMRC, 930 tonnes of beef and 5,392 tonnes of pork were exported to the US between January and July, up 57% and 35% on the previous year.

Dunbia commercial director Andrew Smyth said: “We hope this order will be the first of many, allowing millions of US consumers to enjoy our world-renowned lamb, while bringing a major boost to our sheep producers and exporters, who have another valuable market in which to sell their products.”

Access to US market

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has worked since 2007 to gain Welsh Lamb access to the US market.

HCC pointed to research that indicates the trade could be worth around £20 million a year to Welsh farmers and processors within 5 years of gaining a foothold in the market.

HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells commented: “Our market research suggests that there could be a strong demand for Welsh Lamb, particularly in high-end foodservice and retail outlets on the East Coast.”

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