Export to China, green light for Italian beef


After a 16-year ban, Italian Livestock 4.0 opens its doors to the Middle Empire. Thanks to the Ministry of Health, Italy is the first member state authorized to export beef to the People’s Republic of China

At the end of the work of the inter-governmental committee between China and Italy-chaired by the foreign ministers of the two nations-the Ministry of Agriculture and the Chinese Administration for Quality Control, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) announced the lifting of the ban on the import of boneless Italian beef from animals under 30 months of age. (1)

China introduced a ban on beef imports from Europe in 2001 because of the spread of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) virus, also known as ‘Mad Cow’ disease (because of the effects on the locomotion of affected animals), to the Old Continent.

The confidence shown by the Chinese Authorities is the result of a long process of consultations and verifications, carried out with the valuable contribution of the Ministry of Health and representatives of the Italian livestock industry, who were able to demonstrate our country’s effective attention to food safety and animal welfare.

A key contribution comes from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE ), which in 2013 gave Italy a ‘negligible’ (rather than, simply, ‘controlled’) level of risk with respect to the BSE phenomenon. This recognition stems from, among other things, further significant improvement in the system of official public controls in the veterinary field. Which enabled the Zooprophylactic Institutes to perform about 7 million accredited analyses on beef produced in Italy.

Therefore, the understanding between Chinese and Italian authorities is based on scientific consensus regarding the safety of the supply chain and Made in Italy food products, toward which there is growing interest even among consumers in the top global economy. Exports of Italian meat to China may take place following the establishment of special protocols incorporating the technical agreements that have been made, with a view to harmonizing the health requirements for individual products.

Fresh pork from the Northern Italian macro region, (2) in turn, had received the green light to export to China in late 2016. Following the recognition of the blister disease allowance-from China’s Ministry of Agriculture, and the General Administration for Quality Control, Inspection and Quarantine (Aqsiq)-which allowed the removal of a blockade introduced back in 1999.

An economic scenario of great interest is emerging for beef cattle breeding in Italy, which will then be able to offer its certified quality goods on a market where meat consumption is still growing. With the prospect of achieving the gradual removal of the remaining export limits on meat from animals over 30 months of age and bone-in meat.

Tommaso Di Paolo and Dario Dongo


See http://www.salute.gov.it/portale /news/p3_2_4_1_1.jsp?lingua=italiano&menu=salastampa&p=comunicatistampa&id=4986
The Northern Italy macro-region is an area consisting of Liguria, Piedmont, Aosta Valley, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Marche, Trentino Alto-Adige, and Friuli Venezia-Giulia. An area that accounts for more than 80 percent of Italian pork production

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