By Hilary Mare
MEATCO is expected to ship its first consignment of beef to the United States of America (US) by the end of July 2018, Confidente can reveal.
Confidente further understands that labels for export to that country and price negotiations with logistics ship-liners are in place and currently underway.
Namibia was granted access to the American market in 2016, but was waiting for labelling approval to start exports.
Under the US export rules, Namibia is eligible to export to the US boneless (not ground) beef raw products such as primal cuts, chucks, blade, and beef trimmings.
Last week, the corporation affirmed that its Executive for Marketing and Sales, Cyprianus Khaiseb had told the new US Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson who was on a familiarisation visit to the Meatco Plant on Monday, 25 June 2018 that the exports were being readied for this month.
However, upon inquiry, Khaiseb declined to go into detail saying, “We are in the process and we would not like to start having it in the media as we have things to sort out.”
Through the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS), Namibia has already undergone a public health and assurance audit by the United States of America via Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS).
Last year, Confidente reported that Meatco was audited at plant level by an FSIS auditor.
No deviations (findings) were raised and the Meatco plant was found fully compliant. This inspection was conducted under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is responsible for the commercial supply of meat, correct labelling and packaging in that country.
The audit allows for American authorities to verify that Namibia remains in compliance with maintaining their required standards. This routine audit is conducted on an 18-month to 2-year basis.
“DVS and Meatco performed exceptionally well and this indicates how serious both stakeholders are regarding the commencement of exports to the US market,” said Meatco Executive for Quality Assurance, Rosa Katjivena said at the time.
“Although Namibia was granted access to the American market in 2016, we are still waiting for final approval on the labelling of our products before we can start exporting there.”
“It should be understood that product labelling approval is not part of the market access process. It is a separate, continuous procedural process completed with each product. This means that for every new product developed hereafter, we will have to get their labelling approval as well,” Katjivena added.
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.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015