Meatco US exports up to 23 tonnes

By Hilary Mare

MEATCO has shipped 18 containers with an average weight of 23 tonnes to the United States since the first official consignment in February this year, Confidente has learnt.

Meatco is exporting boneless beef (raw intact beef, boneless beef for manufacturing trimmings – manufacturing trimmings for cooking only). Meatco also exports both chilled and frozen boneless meat (excluding offal products).

Due to Meatco’s high quality beef, Namibia became the first country in Africa eligible to export beef to the United States.

Meatco’s senior corporate communications officer, Jethro Kwenani told Confidente this week that gaining access to the market and servicing clients is key for now.

“Market returns tend to fluctuate thus market diversity is pivotal in growth. We will service the market as per need of clients in the market,” he said.

Meatco supplies international customers with a high quality meat product that has cemented itself across key European markets, while wholesale and MeatMa provide products for the local market.

Namibia was granted access to the American market in 2016, but was waiting for labelling approval to start exports.

Through the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS), Namibia underwent a public health and assurance audit by the United States of America via Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS).

Namibia intends to export some 860 000 kg of beef in the first year, rising to 5.7 million kg by the fifth year. The projected Namibian beef imports in the first year would only be about 0.008 percent of total US production and 0.07 percent of total US meat imports.

To date, only 33 countries worldwide have been approved to export meat to the US.

Evaluation of the Namibian meat inspection system started in 2002 and resumed in 2005 after which the government of Namibia requested approval to export beef products to the US. Namibia stated that, if approved, its immediate intent was to export boneless (not ground) raw beef products, such as primal cuts, chuck, blade, and beef trimmings to the US market.

In 2006, FSIS conducted a document review to evaluate the laws, regulations, and other documentation used by Namibia to execute its meat inspection programme and an on-site audit of Namibia’s meat inspection system and identified systemic deficiencies. In response to this audit, Namibia submitted a corrective action plan that addressed FSIS’s findings.

In 2009, FSIS conducted a follow-up on-site audit to verify that all outstanding issues identified during the previous audit have been addressed. Following that on-site audit, Namibia again provided a corrective action plan to address the issues identified.

In 2013, FSIS proceeded with a follow-up on-site audit of Namibia’s meat inspection system and verified that Namibia had satisfactorily implemented corrective actions in response to the 2009 on-site audit. Following a series of further audits to ensure Namibia complies with US regulatory standards; FSIS determined on the basis of the 2014 on-site audit that Namibia fully met the criteria.

Access was finally granted in 2016.