NZ Government halal arrangement with Malaysia

( Government signs new halal meat arrangement with Malaysia

Minister of Trade Tim Groser and Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson have welcomed news from Malaysia on the signing of an arrangement that takes an important first step towards improving access to Malaysia for New Zealand halal meat.

The arrangement, signed this week, sets out how New Zealand will meet Malaysia’s halal requirements.

New Zealand’s meat trade with Malaysia has been restricted since 2005, when Malaysian auditors delisted many New Zealand beef plants for export for failing to fully comply with Malaysia’s new halal standards. The Government became involved, at the meat industry’s request, in 2008.

“This has been a long-standing issue and I am very pleased that we have been able to work with Malaysia to find a path that will improve access for our meat exporters,” Mr Groser says.

“The value of New Zealand meat exports to Malaysia fell from $76 million in 2004 to $26.5 million in 2006. This arrangement will help place the trade on a more robust footing, and enable our exports to Malaysia to grow.”

Ms Wilkinson says food safety officials had worked hard to show Malaysian authorities that our meat met their stringent halal requirements.

“In February this year we introduced standards of halal certification and this has provided assurance to importing countries like Malaysia that halal certified product from New Zealand is of the highest standard.”

The arrangement provides a framework that reconciles Malaysia’s halal laws with New Zealand’s animal welfare requirements, including that all halal meat produced in New Zealand derives from animals that have been stunned prior to slaughter.

An estimate puts the global Halal food market as worth about US$635 billion annually – approximately 16 percent of the entire food industry. Malaysia alone imported from around the world NZ$666 million worth of halal meat in 2009.

Media Release on 17 December 2010 from Tim Groser, Minister of Trade and Kate Wilkinson, Minister for Food Safety.