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UK looks to expand exports of offal to China

12-05-2013 15:44 BJT

By CCTV correspondent Natalie Feary

The UK is looking to export more meat to China, particularly cuts of meat that are not commonly sold in British supermarkets. This is also on the agenda of British Prime Minister David Cameron's trade visit to China.

Offal, such as pork heads, as well as tails and ribs are among the products being shipped to China. And if more agreements are reached, exports are set to rise even further.

Here at St. John in London, offal including pressed pig's ears, rolled spleen and salted pig's liver are on the menu. The restaurant champions preparing all the edible parts of an animal, known as nose to tail eating.

St. John is world renowned and has won many accolades for its food. But preparing ears, tails and feet is not the norm in the UK.

So the British government is been looking to boost sales abroad.

"The bits of the carcass that we don't typically consume for historical reasons are popular in another country and it is a fantastic opportunity globally to trade with a massive trading partner," Steve Barnes, Commercial Director of UK Food and Drink Federation, says.

Among the delegation that traveled with Prime Minister David Cameron to China are British meat producers. The UK government wants to be able to start exporting chicken feet, among other types of British meat.

But negotiations can be lengthy. Reaching an agreement to supply a selection of cuts of pork to the Chinese market took six years.

"If you look at it from their angle they need to be convinced we have necessary controls, that is what we have spent time doing. foot and mouth in 2001 was a big issue," Mick Sloyan, CEO of BPEX, says.

And ensuring Chinese regulations are met takes time and and is costly. Tulip, the UK's biggest pig processor has spent millions of pounds getting two of its facilities up to scratch.

"We have invested 20 million pounds in last 18 months and both now China approved," Phil Major, Head of Operations of Tulip Meat Abattoir, says.

But the investment has paid off. The company exports 15 products to China, including heads, ribs and tails.

Back in May 2012 China and the UK signed an agreement to export pork products to China, which has added around 10% to the value of this pig. And as negotiations continue to export an increasing range of cuts here at Tulip they hope it will increase the value of these pigs even more.

Among the additional cuts of meat that Britain could be exporting to China by next year are pigs' feet and other types of offal such as stomachs. British producers hope that the value of pork exports to China, already worth $40m, will increase 10 fold in the next 5 years.

The target may seem ambitious but China has already become the largest export market for UK pork outside the European Union. So British cuts of meat like these are set to become increasingly common on Chinese dinner tables.


Editor:James |Source:

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