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USMEF reports progress for U.S. beef in Saudi Arabia

Photo courtesy of U.S. Meat Export Federation

The U.S. Meat Export Federation says U.S. exporters have seen a significant development for U.S. beef access in Saudi Arabia.

USMEF senior director of export services and access Travis Arp says the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) recently approved a regulation increasing the shelf life for chilled beef sold in Saudi Arabia by 50 days, with the new standard being 120 days from the date of slaughter. He says the former 70-day shelf-life limit had been a source of frustration for several years.

Arp notes that USMEF continues to work with U.S. trade officials on other market access obstacles in Saudi Arabia, where U.S. beef exports had achieved steady growth until trade was suspended in 2012 following a BSE case in California.

In 2011, U.S. beef exports to Saudi Arabia topped 6,600 metric tons valued at nearly $32 million, while last year exports were just 1,127 metric tons valued at under $10 million. In 2019, even before COVID-19 restrictions impacted Saudi Arabia’s restaurant sector, exports had only recovered to 1,539 metric tons valued at $14.3 million.