Australia: Government flags changes to halal certification

The federal government has flagged possible changes to the way Australian halal meat destined for overseas is certified.

In response to a Senate inquiry report from December 2015, the coalition said it would consider amending regulations to “strengthen oversight and monitoring of halal certification for export”.

This will include an option for the government to be the sole signatory on halal certificates for export.

“This variation would increase halal certification options for the export red meat industry and will further enable the government to promote the Australian government authorised halal program internationally as a whole-of-country, government-led halal certification system,” said the response, tabled in parliament on Wednesday.

The Senate committee recommended the government consider the monitoring and compliance of halal certification of meat for export.

It noted meat exporters were restrained by the current system because arrangements for securing halal certification in Australia were often determined by importers – and requirements varied from country to country.

The federal government also promised to ask a ministerial food forum to consider ways to bring halal certification of food in the domestic market into line with the standard agreed for export.

Any major proposals coming out of that forum will need to undergo a cost-benefit analysis and have an appropriate phase-in period to minimise the impact on price for consumers.

The government says it will also consider holding a forum with food certification bodies to discuss the use of trademarks.

© AAP 2017