New Zealand: Government moves into halal accreditation

Written by  Sudesh Kissun, Rural News – 16 January 2020

State-owned food certifier AsureQuality is stepping into halal audit and accreditation.

Late last year, the company acquired an 80% stake in New Zealand Islamic Development Trust (NZIDT Ltd), NZ’s top provider of halal audit and certification services to food exporters.

NZ meat and dairy exporters require NZIDT certification to make halal claims and to gain market access for exports to Muslim communities around the world.

AsureQuality chief executive John McKay told Rural News that the acquisition is a natural extension of the halal training services his company provides.

McKay says the halal business is huge for NZ red meat and dairy exporters: in 2018 NZ exported $3.5 billion of halal products.

He says NZIDT certification is crucial for existing food exporters to have market access.

“AsureQuality has been actively engaged in the halal market for some time through the training services we provide,” he said.

“This investment further builds on that offering and will enable us to further build on the skills and expertise of NZIDT and support the organisation to focus on do what they do best.”

McKay says NZIDT will continue to operate as a stand-alone business, managed and run by practising Muslims who intimately understand halal.

In addition, all employees are being retained and the team will continue to deliver the expert halal audit and certification services NZIDT is known and trusted for.

Existing shareholder and chief executive Taoufik Elidrissi retains the remaining 20%.

Elidrissi says the investment supports the growing need for high quality professional halal services in New Zealand and may also help to open doors internationally for the company and New Zealand exporters.

“AsureQuality is a respected market leader in food auditing and certification. Having their support will enable us to leverage the combined strengths of both organisations to ensure the ongoing delivery of robust halal auditing and certification services to key food industry sectors in New Zealand.”

McKay says MPI is aware of the acquisition and satisfied that it complies with all of its regulatory requirements.

Market authorities in the key Muslim markets of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Indonesia have also been engaged to confirm that the acquisition does not affect NZIDT’s existing recognitions and approvals.

Key industry bodies and customers that require halal certification in New Zealand also support the proposed acquisition.

About AsureQuality

AsureQuality is a commercial company, wholly owned by the New Zealand Government.

It provides food assurance and biosecurity services to the food and primary production sectors.

Its 1700 workforce helps to ensure the safety and quality of food being produced for millions of people.

Its staff test, audit, inspect, verify and certify food across the supply chain from the farm to the consumer.