Irish beef producers are hoping to get approval this week from the US Department of Agriculture of special quality assurances for Irish beef.

Approval from the USDA would allow Bord Bia and its customers to use marketing labels identifying Irish beef on retail shelves.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed is leading an Irish trade delegation to the US and Mexico this week in advance of approval being granted.

Mr Creed will attend a meeting at the White House with US President Donald Trump's Special Assistant on Agriculture and Trade, Ray Starling. 

He will also meet the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Pat Roberts, and the Acting Under-Secretary for Foreign Agriculture Service.

Mr Creed said the trade mission offered "a great opportunity to strengthen our existing market presence in the United States, to deepen the existing footprint of the Irish food sector in Mexico, and establish a platform to develop new market opportunities for Irish beef and pig meat there".

While the trip begins in Washington DC, it will include engagements in Maryland, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Chicago before moving on to Mexico City.

There Mr Creed will hold a series of meetings including with the Mexican Secretary for Agriculture Jose Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa and his under-secretary Juan Carlos Baker Pineda.

Last year the US imported more than €1 billion worth of Irish agri-food products.

Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said the trade mission to Mexico was about engaging with representatives from the meat industry ahead of access to the market there for Irish pig meat and beef.

She said they would also be discussing how to build on Irish drinks and dairy brands in the Mexican market.

In 2015, Irish beef became the first EU beef products permitted to be imported into the US.