Scotch beef is being sold in Canada for the first time in nearly 24 years.

Aberdeen Angus is on the menu at steakhouse Jacobs & Co in Toronto, Ontario, making it the first Canadian restaurant to sell Scotch beef since a ban on UK beef imports was imposed in 1996.

Speciality grocer Denninger’s has also reintroduced Scotch beef to its fresh meat counters across its five stores in Ontario.

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The worldwide export of British beef was banned in 1996 due to fears over Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) – so-called mad cow disease.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “I’m delighted that after 24 years, Scotch beef is now available in a Canadian restaurant and can be bought in stores alongside some of the finest global produce.

“Since Canada reopened its market, we have been committed to connecting key buyers and retailers with Scotch beef farmers.

“This is the result of significant work by many to support Scottish producers and engage potential Canadian buyers, including Quality Meat Scotland and our dedicated food and drink in-market specialist who took businesses out to meet farmers and producers.

“There is a growing appetite for premium produce with a strong sense of Scottish provenance which we should capitalise on. Scotch beef exports are currently worth £46.4 million to our economy and we will work closely with partner agencies and businesses to help this grow.”

Canada lifted its ban on UK beef exports in November 2015, however before Scotch beef could be exported there it had to undergo a lengthy process including inspections and approvals of Scottish production facilities by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

A market entry strategy to support the sale of Scotch beef in Canada was then undertaken by Scottish authorities.

Danny McCallum, executive chef at Jacobs & Co, said: “I travel the world to source the very best products for our guests.

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“I was impressed by the quality and standards of the beef industry in Scotland, and excited that we are the first restaurant in Canada to have Scotch beef on the menu.”

Alan Clarke, chief executive of Quality Meat Scotland, said: “It is fantastic news and having Scotch beef on the shelves in Canada is hugely important for our industry.

“We look forward to further developing additional opportunities to promote and showcase Scotch beef and Scotch lamb in Canada over the coming months.”