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UK pig industry gets boost as China approves processors

China has officially approved the exports of pork meat from 7 more UK suppliers which could be worth around £200 million (€220 million) to the pig industry there.

Following a series of visits by Chinese officials 2 years ago, provisional approval was granted in November 2015, but now the final nod has been given to formally start the process.

Additional pork meat processors get approval

In total, 9 UK producers already export to China with sales of pork products worth £43 million (€47 million) last year. However, 7 additional UK businesses have now received approval to export including, 2 in Northern Ireland. Chinese authorities have now approved exports from sites in Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, county Antrim and county Tyrone.

Pig trotters, a product often shipped to China, are being inspected in a processing plant. Photo: Michel Zoeter
Pig trotters, a product often shipped to China, are being inspected in a processing plant. Photo: Michel Zoeter

With this latest approval, the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says it could be equivalent to a £200 million boost for the industry and support 1,500 jobs over the first five years. China’s demand for food and drink has increased massively over the years with UK exports there rising by over 33% to £428 million (€471 million) in 2016.

Inspections by China’s certification team

The new approvals are a result of a series of inspections by representatives of China’s Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) team, plus separate checks by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (AQSIQ).

The latest approval also covers pig trotters, which are not consumed in the UK but are a value added product in China. This new outlet for trotters could add a further £2 (€2.20) per carcass for the local producers, with access to the Chinese market potentially adding £4 (€4.40) per carcass.

Shipping the pork to China is estimated to start in another 2-4 weeks once all the administration is organised in the UK and in China.

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