Scotland hopes to unlock US beef market by applying for BSE Negligible Risk status

The Scottish Government will consult on plans to apply for BSE Negligible Risk status – a move which could unlock new export opportunities for Scottish red meat and add value throughout the red meat supply chain.

That’s according to Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing who has declared his determination to maximise markets and incomes for producers of Scotland’s premium food and drink.

Speaking at the Royal Highland Show, Mr Ewing said achieving BSE negligible risk status could help open up markets across the world for these premium products, and potentially reduce waste and inefficiencies in the supply chain worth more than a million pounds.

“The USA is already on the cusp of resuming beef imports from the UK while the Canadian market is now open for both beef and lamb. The opportunities for exports and producer incomes are potentially massive and it is imperative that Scotland is ahead of the game in promoting our iconic red meat brands.

Ewing also said that if Scotland were to successfully apply for and be upgraded to BSE Negligible Risk status, we could be the first region in the world to do so.

“I am keen to understand the full implications of this status for industry which is why the Scottish Government will formally consult on our proposals later this summer,” he said.

Scotland has been BSE-free since 2009, and has had no cases of BSE in animals born since 2005, and is now eligible to make an application for BSE Negligible Risk status as a region of the UK.