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Apr 19, 2013

Australia Welcomes UK Pork for the First Time


In February this year the Australian Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries issued final approval for the export of UK pork to Australia for the first time. The opening up of the Australian market will give Australian consumers access to the UK’s high quality pork products.

The opening up of the Australian market, subject to strict health requirements met by UK industry, was warmly welcomed by British Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, who recently visited Australia to discuss further collaboration between the UK and Australia on issues such as bio security.

While in Australia the Minister said:

“It’s great news that Australia has finally allowed heat-treated British pork into the country. This will be welcome news for British farmers who operate one of the most technologically-advanced and humane pig industries anywhere in the world.”

Of course Australia has a significant domestic industry, but also imports a large amount of pork each year (A$600m in 2012), currently mainly from the US, Denmark and Canada. This is also good news for Australian consumers, importers and food producers who are increasingly demanding ethically-sourced meat and will now have access to the UK’s high quality, humane, pork products - Minister noted.

Last year Australia imported just over 150,000 tonnes of pork* with the majority coming from the US, Denmark and Canada; over the same timeframe Australian domestic production was over 350,000 tonnes.

The UK has some of the highest standards of pig welfare of any country around the world. In particular, it has banned the use of sow stalls (used to confine pregnant sows) since 1999. However, in the EU there is only a partial ban on the use of sow stalls which came into force on 1 January 2013.

The market for humane and organic meat is growing rapidly in Australia. An IBIS World report indicated that organic products grew at an annual rate of 10% from 2008 – 2013 with meat a significant part of the growth. Coles has announced that all the imported pork used in its processed products, such as bacon and ham, will be from sow stall free systems from 2014 and Woolworths has made the same declaration for fresh pork.