1 Feb 2011

Halal protocol reassures market - MIA

1:23 pm on 1 February 2011

The Meat Industry Association thinks a protocol now in force will help to reduce misunderstanding about New Zealand's halal certification systems for supplying food and other products to Muslim markets.

The head of one of New Zealand's halal certification bodies, Dr Mohamed Abdel-Al, of Islamic Meat Management, has warned that trade could suffer unless the country does more to counter misinformation about its halal procedures, in particular, stunning animals before slaughter in meat plants.

He says New Zealand authorities need to correct claims made overseas that electrical stunning doesn't comply with Muslim requirements because it kills or injures the animals.

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie says meat sales to Muslim countries have been growing steadily and he agrees New Zealand needs to minimise misunderstandings that could disrupt that.

He says industry and Government have developed a protocol that describes the New Zealand halal system, which gives the market assurance that the country produces halal meat in the way it says it does.

"Its benefit was demonstrated when the New Zealand Government concluded an agreement with the Malaysians just prior to Christmas ... and that's an area where we've had difficulty over the last four or five years."

Mr Ritchie says having an international halal standard would also help.