Irish beef companies, Bord Bia and Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney will travel to the US later today on a major trade mission to mark the opening of the US market to Irish beef.

Following a decision by the US authorities last month to lift an-EU wide ban, Irish beef is going on sale there for the first time in 15 years.

Mr Coveney will lead a delegation to New York, Boston and Washington DC.

As part of the three-day trip, the minister will meet his US counterpart, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and will also address the World Bank on the sustainable development of the Irish agri-food sector.

He will also speak with meat buyers and top chefs in all three cities.

A number of events are planned to showcase Irish beef, which will be aimed at the high-end, premium green food sector of the US market.

The US imposed a ban on European beef in the 1990s following the BSE crisis.

Ireland is the first EU country to be allowed back into the American market.