US officials to conduct Scotch beef checks
US food inspectors are coming to Scotland to ensure Scotch beef is fit to export, following a 25-year ban.
Food safety experts will inspect UK red meat plants within the next six months to ensure they match US requirements.
American officials imposed restrictions on red meat imports from the UK in 1989, following concerns over BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) infecting the human food chain.
Restrictions were formally lifted on EU countries in November 2013.
But member states still have to demonstrate equivalent standards to US food safety controls before exports can recommence.
Scottish Food Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Scotch beef is recognised as a premium product around the globe and in demand all over the world - so it is unfortunate that so many Scots, and Americans with Scottish heritage living in the USA, cannot get their teeth into a succulent scotch steak.
"I am looking forward to Scotland hosting a formal audit mission from the US authorities in the first half of this year, which should enable the importation of Scotch beef to recommence.
"I'm also optimistic that this will help to pave the way for the resumption of imports of other iconic Scottish products such as haggis and Scotch lamb."