In April 2017, I agreed a Protocol on the export of beef from Ireland to China with the Minister responsible for the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), following negotiations between both Departments. This Protocol contains the terms and conditions for the export of beef to China.
A revised veterinary health certificate for Irish meat being exported to China came into force on June 1st 2018. This replaced a previous veterinary health certificate for pigmeat being exported to China and coincided with the commencement of beef exports to China. The certificate states that the product being exported must be produced in line with the Protocol that has been agreed between Ireland and China.
In the case of beef being exported, this must be frozen boneless beef, from cattle aged under 30 months at slaughter and the animals from which the meat is derived must have been born, raised and slaughtered in Ireland. The live cattle from which the frozen beef to be exported to China is derived, must originate from farms where there has been no clinical cases detected of various diseases historically, including BSE or detected within the past 12 months, including tuberculosis (TB). Therefore beef can be exported from herds that historically have had TB, as long as it was not within the last 12 months.
Beef can only be exported from a plant that has been approved by the Chinese authorities and listed on their website. In line with the current Chinese legislation, exporting plants require an on-site inspection visit by the Chinese inspectors prior to being approved.