By:  Arab News

Source: Arab News

With a Muslim population of about half a million, Australia has become a world leader in the processing and production of halal meat and meat products. The continent is a long-time, trusted supplier of halal beef and lamb to more than 100 countries including the Middle East.

Australia has one of the strictest halal programs in the world. The Australian Government Authorized Halal Program (AGAHP) is undertaken in collaboration with the government’s department of agriculture and water resources, and Australian Islamic organizations.

The country has invested millions of dollars in research and development of  meat science and understands that healthy, well-fed and stress-free livestock produce the best quality meat for all consumers to enjoy.

One of the important halal requirements is that animals are treated properly their entire lives and that they have easy access to food and water and are free to roam. Australia, with its natural environment and the world’s highest animal-welfare standards, easily meets these requirements.

Additionally, all processing facilities in Australia employ only registered and trained Muslim slaughtermen.

Master Chef Tarek Ibrahim, the first master chef from the Middle East, said: “You can confidently enjoy your food knowing that when you buy Australian halal beef and lamb, you are getting clean, safe and 100 percent guaranteed halal meat.”

The halal marketplace is emerging as one of the fastest-growing segments in the world food business. The global halal food market is worth an estimated $667 million, representing close to 20 percent of the entire global food industry. It is expected to reach $2.55 trillion by 2024.

The Middle East imports about 90 percent of the beef and lamb it consumes. The total imports of red meat products are estimated at $5.1 billion. In tandem with the expected rise in the region’s population by 40 percent by 2030, the consumption of food in the Middle East may well reach 51 million tons by 2020 representing an annual average growth of 4.6 percent.

The GCC’s halal sector is worth $50 billion. The region’s annual food imports are expected to double from $25.8 billion in 2010 to $53 billion in 2020, with total imports of halal meat exceeding 1 million metric tons on an annual basis.

According to economists, the halal food industry will become a major market force in the near future based on prevalent trends.