Simon Coveney visits New York
Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney kicked off a three-day promotional tour for Irish beef in New York.

HOUSTON – Sysco Corp. reached an agreement with ABP Foods Group to sell Irish beef in the United States making ABP Food the first Irish company to reach such a deal, according to news reports. The deal is worth about €15 million ($17 million). Pallas Foods, a subsidiary of Sysco based in Ireland, facilitated the agreement.

ABP will supply beef to Sysco Metro New York and Sysco Boston locations, according to news reports. Steakhouses and restaurants will be the initial customers. Shipments are expected to begin in March.

“We look forward to developing and growing our partnership with Sysco who will be key in helping us bring our sustainable, grass fed, hormone free Irish beef to the plates of US consumers,” said Paul Finnerty, CEO of ABP Food Group in a statement. ‘We greatly appreciate the efforts made by Tadhg Geary and Pallas Foods in helping build this international partnership.

“Our initial focus will be on the Northeastern region of the US where we will concentrate on establishing Irish beef in a sustainable and measured way,” he added. “I would also like to commend the work of the Minister, the Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia in helping to achieve the significant milestone for the Irish beef sector.”

The announcement comes as Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD leads a three-day promotion tour for Irish beef in New York starting Feb. 9. Coveney said “this week is about building on the momentum of the recent announcement that Irish beef is the only European beef approved for sale in the US.

“Today in New York is the first day of our three-city promotional tour and it’s fitting that we start here in a city with a reputation for high quality food but also with deep links with Ireland,” he said. “Our key aim is to build awareness and generate excitement about Irish beef among trade buyers and opinion formers.”

Coveney also is hosting a number of bilateral meetings with key US food buyers to highlight Irish beef. Joining Coveney on the promotional tour are leading Irish beef exporters.

Ireland became the first European Union member to regain access to the US market for beef after US officials lifted a 15-year ban on beef produced in the EU. The ban came in response to an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the EU during the 1990s. Irish authorities started the process of approving individual beef plants to export beef products to the US after a successful inspection by US authorities of Ireland's beef production systems in July 2014.