UK pork producers come closer to gaining Mexican market access

Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Dmitry Kalinovsky

UK pork producers are a step closer to gaining access to the lucrative Mexican market after a delegation recently visited Britain to learn about the country’s pork sector.

A delegation of Mexican officials spent two weeks visiting abattoirs and processors in the UK to see first-hand and learn more about the country’s pork production controls.

They also met with pork processors Cranswick, Karro and Tulip as well as viewing several cold storage facilities across the country.

The inspections formed part of Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHBD) ongoing work in partnership with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as well as UKECP, APHA, DAERA and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to open the market for pork exports from the UK.

It was part financed from the £2 million fund of AHDB red meat levies ring-fenced for collaborative projects which is managed by Britain’s three meat levy bodies: AHDB, HCC and QMS.

Mexico represents a major opportunity for the UK’s pork sector. It is the second largest importer of pork – accounting for 9% of total international trade. In 2018, the country imported 1.2 million tonnes of pig meat, three quarters of which was fresh/frozen primary pork. The remainder was mostly offal.

The US is by far the dominant supplier, providing around 85% of imports – with the majority of the remainder coming from Canada. A few EU suppliers play a small part, with 8,500 tonnes of pig meat imported from Spain in 2018.

“The Mexican market represents a major opportunity for the UK pork sector with a rise in consumption and demand currently outstripping production capabilities,” said International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley.

“We are confident this inspection will be another step forward in the UK’s ambition to access this important market and build on our already impressive pork export figures.”

This recent visit follows a trade mission from Mexico last year when delegates toured farms, processors, supermarkets and a pig farming and genetics specialist.