The press release issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 27 October 2023.
British cooked poultry meat will soon reach Japanese tables thanks to a new market access deal that will benefit UK farmers, meat processers and exporters. The industry estimates that this market could be worth over £10 million in the next 5 years.
UK poultry meat has been exported to Japan since a market access deal for fresh and cooked poultry was secured in 2021, but Avian Influenza outbreaks in the UK have led to restrictions on the trade.
The new agreement enables smoother trade of cooked poultry meat, meaning that additional high value exports to Japan can be made. Moy Park, one of the UK’s largest poultry meat producers, is the first to be officially registered to export cooked poultry to Japan under this agreement from one of its facilities in Grantham, Lincolnshire.
Japan is renowned internationally for its stringent food safety and import control regime, as well as for its taste for high-quality, varied cuts of meats. The opening of this market for UK cooked poultry products demonstrates Japan’s confidence in the high standards of UK poultry production methods.
Negotiations were led by Defra and their Agriculture Attaché and colleagues based at the British Embassy in Tokyo, with support from the British Poultry Council (BPC), South Kesteven District Council and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Food and Farming Minister Mark Spencer said:
British poultry is rightly celebrated as some of the best in the world and I’m delighted that new high value products can now be enjoyed in Japan.
I’d like to pay tribute to our Agri-food Attaché network who work hard to secure trade opportunities like this and fly the flag for UK farmers.
Dr Jorge Martin-Almagro, UK Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, said:
This market access agreement is one more positive step forward for the UK poultry industry and is testament to the quality of their meat.
In the face of ongoing challenges posed by Avian Influenza, it is a real achievement to have secured a deal which allows the exports of these valuable UK poultry products.
Minister for International Trade Nigel Huddleston said:
This is a significant win for British poultry farmers and producers who can now export their top-notch produce to this vast and lucrative market.
Unlocking trade barriers around the world increases opportunities for British businesses and is key for growing exports, driving economic growth and creating new jobs as we look to hit £1 trillion of exports every year by 2030.
British Poultry Council Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths said:
We welcome the good news of market access for cooked poultry meat exports to Japan. Industry has worked closely with Government over the years to open doors for businesses producing world class standards of safe, affordable, nutritious food and high value poultry breeding stock.
Following today’s announcement, we thank the Defra market access team and all Government officials involved for securing exciting opportunities for BPC members, putting food on every table round the world despite the big challenges at hand, including successful negotiations of regionalisation for highly pathogenic avian influenza. We look forward to continuing our work building, maintaining and enhancing crucial markets and relationships – both existing and new.
Ayeisha Kirkham, Head of Service (Public Protection) at South Kesteven District Council said:
The district council has overseen food hygiene regulation at Moy Park in Grantham, one of Lincolnshire’s largest employers, for several decades. It has been a pleasure working with the company and other agencies to help them satisfy the high expectations of the Japanese officials who visited the site in March.
Supporting economic growth and local businesses is a priority for the council, including global food export at a time when import and export has presented national challenges.
Beatriz Curran, International Business Development Manager at Moy Park said:
We are incredibly proud to be the first UK business set to benefit from this fantastic export opportunity. As a company, we are wholly focused on the highest standards of food safety, integrity and animal welfare and so we are thankful to collaborate with industry and partners to successfully reach this new market.
With the momentum from this progress, we are confident that we can grow this export opportunity even further across our facilities given the technical excellence, focus and energy of our talented team and partners.
Japan is also a valuable market for high quality UK breeding poultry, with a further market access agreement secured in recent weeks. The agreement ensures that any future avian influenza outbreaks only lead to temporary restrictions on exports from affected regions, rather than a countrywide ban. The UK are world leaders in the supply of poultry genetics, and this deal will allow Japanese poultry companies to continue access to UK high-grade stock.