Russia adopts new halal standards

The Russian government has adopted the first nationwide halal standards in a bid to ramp up food exports to Muslim countries.

New rules, scheduled to come into force in 2 stages on March 1, 2023, and July 1, 2023, will lay the ground for the Russian halal standardisation system, Marat Nizamov, head of the halal department at the Russian food quality organisation Roskachestvo said.

This system will be called to improve the quality of halal products and services, guarantee fair competition for Russian-made halal products and eliminate technical trade barriers, he added.

Over the past 3 years, Russia has managed to double the export of products that meet the Halal standard.

Halal export perks up

In previous years, numerous Russian companies have been passing voluntary certification to begin manufacturing food carrying the halal label. The Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselhoznadzor estimated that the share of halal products in the Russian food market in 2022 was close to 10%. Halal products account for 35% of global meat exports. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest sales market, purchasing halal meat worth $1.2 billion on average per year, Rosselhoznadzor said.

“Over the past 3 years, Russia has managed to double the export of products that meet the Halal standard,” Maxim Protasov, head of Roskachestvo, said.

“In 2021, Russia supplied halal products worth a record $180 million to the Persian Gulf countries alone. The largest importers were Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. At the same time, Russia does not plan to limit its export only to the countries of the Middle East. By 2024, the export of Russian halal to Arab countries should reach $400 million, and by 2030 – $700 million,” he added.

Currently, the global market of halal food is estimated to be close to $2 trillion. By 2024, this figure could reach $3.5 trillion. In 2025, 20% of all food in the global market is likely to be halal, according to Roskachestvo.

The halal feed has become popular

Some Russian feed mills also switched to manufacturing feed in accordance with Muslim standards. For example, Orenburg feed mill launched a production line of halal feed to not only meet the demand of local customers but also to export feed to Tajikistan.

Currently, some Russian companies manufacturing halal feed emphasise that it doesn’t contain antibiotics and soybeans. It is believed that some share of non-Muslim customers in Russia opts for halal food as a premium quality product, among other things citing fears about the wide use of in-feed antibiotics in the Russian livestock industry.