Boost for Northern Ireland farmers as BSE risk downgraded
The Ulster Farmers Union has said the granting of official BSE negligible risk status to Northern Ireland will be welcomed by livestock farmers.
The change to negligible risk status - the safest level - was confirmed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) at a meeting in Paris yesterday.
Northern Ireland has had no cases of BSE since 2012.
UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt said: "This will give Northern Ireland beef a more positive image on the world stage. It should help us gain access to key target markets, such as China, USA, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.
"Beef exporters believe securing access to these markets could put an extra £12m a year into the supply chain.
"In countries we already trade in, it opens up the possibility of amending access agreements. This could boost trade in offals, again adding value to the local supply chain."
Chief veterinary officer Robert Huey said: "This is a significant achievement that has been many years in the making."