UK: £1bn export potential for Halal meat into the Middle East

Jim Paice, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food attended the Anuga food show in Germany on Monday to support EBLEX’s export drive.

Anuga is the largest food and beverage fair in the world; it is the sector’s most important fair for new markets and target groups.

The UK export performance of food and non?alcoholic drink in the first half of 2011 was much stronger than many would have predicted, growing to £5.8bn.

Imports of food and non?alcoholic drinks were £16.6bn in the first half of 2011, up 7.5% on the same period in 2010.

Meat (and related animal products) exports were up 18.4% to £819.5m, including:

Beef +32.9% to £202.7m overtaking lamb as the leading meat category (no.1 market the Netherlands +58.1%, no.2 market Ireland +31.4%, no.3 market France +17.8%).

Lamb +13.0% to £171.4m including halal meat (no.1 market France ?1.2%, no.2 market Germany +56.5%, no.4 market Ireland +75.6%).

Jim Paice MP accompanied by Peter Hardwick of EBLEX visited all the export stands at the show, with half the export stands promoting Halal Meat. The Minister spoke to Naved Syed Managing Director of Janan Meat. Syed said that the Minister was concerned with the negative media coverage over Halal Meat, and said that the government, including the Prime minister David Cameron, were in full sport of ritual slaughter for the Muslim and the Jewish community.

“We have no plans to outlaw in any way that practice. There’s no stronger supporter of shechita and Halal in the cabinet than me. The Jewish/muslim community has been absolutely exemplar in integrating into British life in every way, but integration doesn’t mean that you have to give up things that you hold very dear in your religion and it seems to me the issue of shechita and Halal are a very good example of that. I fought as a back-bench MP at the last attempt by the Farm Animal Welfare Council to do something to change this and I will always stand up for it.”

David Cameron, March 2011.

Naved Syed said that the support and the attendance of Jim Paice, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, at Anuga here in Germany (the first minister to attend the show for over fifteen years) highlights the coalition government’s commitments in lowering the UK deficit.

The personal visit of the Minister Jim Paice has created the possibility of opening up a  £1bn export potential for Halal meat into the Middle East.