Charleville meat plant gets the green light for exports to China

Decision will mean significant benefits for Cork farmers and staff at the plant

Dawn Meats in Charleville has been given the green light by the Chinese Authorities to export their produce. 

In total, 11 Irish meat plants, which are being approved to export to China – six beef plants and five pigmeat plants. The total agri-food trade exports to China reached €974 million last year and it is now Ireland’s third largest market overall.  

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said Dawn Meats has now been approved by the Chinese authorities and listed by CNCA, the Chinese Certification and Accreditation Agency, which is part of the recently established Chinese Agency, the State Market Regulatory Administration.  

This announcement follows closely on from the beef market opening in April and directly from the Ministerial discussions during the successful trade mission to China lead by the minister in May. 

During the trade mission it was agreed these plants had met the required standards and could be registered shortly. Demand for meat in China has quadrupled over the last 30 years. However, beef consumption would be considered relatively low at 4kg per person per year, compared to 19kg per person in Ireland.

However, there has been steady growth in consumer demand for beef, as the middle class has higher disposable income and there is increased urbanisation. Figures show beef exports to China have increased from under 100,000 tonnes in 2012 to around 700,000 tonnes last year.

However, this is expected to double by 2020. Minister Creed said he was very pleased that the Chinese officials in CNCA have been able to complete this part of the registration process so quickly and efficiently, despite the wide range of countries seeking beef access to China and many demands on their time.

“It is a very significant sign of the respect for our food safety systems and of the high regard in which the entire Irish meat industry, from field and farmer through to fork, is held,” he said.

“This is a testament to my department’s work on market access in pursuing and advancing market access through both a wide range of technical and official work and also through relevant diplomatic and political channels. Increasing market opportunities for our exporters is a key component of the Food Wise 2025 strategy and our response to Brexit,” he said.  As outlined, it now means that 11 plants – excluding coldstores, have now been approved by China. 

“The geographic spread of these plants with knock-on benefits to our farmers all across the country is  also notable.  I am particularly pleased that Charleville and the Cork North West area will benefit from this market access approval,” said Minister Creed.  Already this year, Dawn Meats has been awarded the McDonald’s Global “Scale for Good” Award, the “The Green Food & Beverage Award” at the prestigious Green Awards 2018, and has been named Food Manufacturer of the Year at the UK’s Food Management Today Industry Awards 2018.