Kepak Group has today, Monday, October 7, announced that it has become "the first ever European meat processor to be awarded United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval for the supply, marketing and distribution of Irish beef in a value-added format of beef burgers into the US market".

The approval was announced today at Anuga - the world’s largest trade fair for food and beverages - in Cologne, Germany.

The deal secures access for Kepak to the US restaurant burger market which is currently valued at over $122 billion.

The development follows the successful launch in 2017 of the first Irish beef retail brand in the US, Kepak’s Celtic Beef Company, and means Irish beef in burger patty format will be available in the US for the first time.

This USDA value-added beef patty approval will see Kepak’s grass-fed, fully traceable and hormone-free Irish beef being made available to the foodservice and retail sectors with distribution, initially focusing on the New York and Boston markets.

Commenting on the approval, John Horgan, managing director, Kepak Group, said: “We are delighted to be the first meat processor in Europe to attain USDA approval for the sale of our high-quality, value-added beef burger patties into the US market.

This announcement will see Kepak’s renowned Irish beef burger patties made available in pubs and restaurants from Monaghan to Manhattan and Massachusetts.

"Kepak North America, the group’s sales and marketing office in the US, has been busy growing the sales of our Irish beef since the launch of our Celtic Beef Company brand a number of years ago and this new burger range will enhance our food service offering."

Concluding, he said: "It is also a commitment by Kepak to add value where possible to Irish meat and to support employment in rural communities."

Minister Doyle

Also commenting on the deal from Anuga, the Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle, said: “With Brexit on the horizon, the current environment for business is challenging, particularly for the beef sector, and developing and growing new markets is a key response to these challenges.

Today’s announcement is most welcome news, particularly for the local community in Monaghan where this meat will be produced.

Concluding, Minister Doyle said: "Today’s news is a testament both to the high-quality beef that Irish farmers are world famous for producing and to the market access work of my department in cooperation with the US authorities.”