Scotch beef back in Japan after 20 years

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Scotch beef has arrived on Japanese shores for the first time in more than 20 years
Scotch beef has arrived on Japanese shores for the first time in more than 20 years

Related tags Meat & Seafood

The first order of Scotch beef PGI (protected geographical indication) by Japan has arrived in the country, more than 20 years after it was banned.

Supplied by West Lothian-based processor AK Stoddart’s, the beef’s arrival was celebrated at an official showcase event held at the British Embassy, as part of the run-up to this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Organised by Scottish Development International and supported by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the event was attended by influential Japanese retailers and importers.

QMS chief executive Alan Clarke described the Japanese market, reported to be worth £127m to UK farmers over five years, as a fantastic opportunity for Scotch beef. He pointed to Japan’s hunger for high-value, high-quality meat as a key driver for Scotch beef’s popularity.

PGI status

“Scotch Beef was the first European red meat product to be granted the coveted European PGI status, which reflects the unique provenance and quality of this product, and the farming methods behind the production of Scotch Beef are very much part of our Scottish landscape and heritage​,” Clarke added.

“We look forward to further developing opportunities to promote and showcase Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb in Japan.”

Imports of British beef and lamb to Japan were banned in 1996 following the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as mad cow disease.

Ban lifted

The ban was lifted in January of this year, following a meeting between Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

QMS external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop added: “I’m delighted that the people of Japan can once again enjoy one of Scotland’s most iconic food products. Our red meat sector is a genuine success story and one I am committed to continue to champion at home and overseas.”

Meanwhile, Scottish seafood exports to Japan more than quadrupled last year​. In August, a contingent of seafood companies headed east to bolster the export trend.

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