Mexican visit ‘major opportunity’ for pork market

Monday, 24 February 2020

An inspection of the UK’s pork market by Mexican inspectors has been branded ‘positive’ by industry leaders – as ambitions to gain market access move a step closer.

The delegation of Mexican officials spent two weeks visiting abattoirs and processors to learn more about the country’s pork production controls. They also met with pork processors Cranswick, Karro and Tulip as well as viewing several cold storage facilities across the country.

The inspections formed part of our ongoing work in partnership with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as well as UKECP, APHA, DAERA and FSA to open the market for pork exports from the UK.

Mexico represents a major opportunity for the UK’s pork sector. It is the second largest importer of pork – accounting for nine per cent of total international trade. In 2018, the country imported 1.2 million tonnes of pig meat, three quarters of which was fresh/frozen primary pork. The remainder was mostly offal.

The US is by far the dominant supplier, providing around 85 per cent of imports – with the majority of the remainder coming from Canada. A few EU suppliers play a small part, with 8,500 tonnes of pig meat imported from Spain in 2018.

International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley said: “The Mexican market represents a major opportunity for the UK pork sector with a rise in consumption and demand currently outstripping production capabilities.

“We are confident this inspection will be another step forward in the UK’s ambition to access this important market and build on our already impressive pork export figures.”

The visit was part financed from the £2 million fund of AHDB red meat levies ring-fenced for collaborative projects which is managed by Britain’s three meat levy bodies: AHDB, HCC and QMS.

The fund is an interim arrangement while a long-term solution is sought on the issue of levies being collected at point of slaughter in England for animals which have been reared in Scotland and Wales.